Everyone knows that person. When you’re out eating at a fast food place, they leave their trash at the table. The rest of your group may have taken their trash away, but that one person usually insists they don’t have to do the work.
The most often cited reason for not cleaning up is something along the lines of, “It’s the custodians’ job to clean up.” Some people truly believe that they don’t need to throw away their own trash because someone else is supposed to do it for them.
The most glaring issue with this concept is that it’s just so incredibly condescending. If you’re not considerate enough to clean up after yourself, and instead you want to force someone else to do so, you are very clearly looking down on that person just because of their job.
It’s also almost always just flat-out wrong to say “This is their job, they need work to do.” At nearly every business or building where there are people employed to clean, those same cleaning employees have plenty of other responsibilities and jobs to attend to.
The Alestle Staff has recently noticed an influx in issues like this at SIUE. Our office is located right next to Center Court in the MUC. Almost every time we look out into Center Court, we see plenty of empty tables with piles of trash left on them.
SIUE’s Facilities Management do clean the buildings on campus,but they are also in charge of maintenance, transportation services on campus and plenty of other jobs. You can clearly see how wrong it is to assume that SIUE’s cleaning services are just waiting around for work to do.
The final nail in the proverbial coffin of this argument is that we are still in the midst of a pandemic. With COVID-19, Facilities Management has been burdened with even more work on campus. They’ve been tasked with disinfecting campus classrooms, offices and more fairly often, and making sure everyone is safe.
Additionally, if you leave your own food waste out, you are greatly increasing the chances of a member of Facilities Management being infected. If you or someone you are eating with tests positive for COVID-19, and you’ve left your half-eaten food for Facilities Management to clean up, then the member of Facilities Management who cleans up after you is far more likely to contract COVID-19. That situation could have been avoided, however, if you had cleaned up your own area.
Another possible explanation for this recent uptick in trash left behind is that SIUE’s campus has more people on it at once than it has in almost 18 months. Some members of the SIUE community may not have had experience living on their own, or taking care of their own space on campus in this way.
But, we have been back on campus for over a month now. It is time to take responsibility and take care of ourselves. It isn’t the most far-fetched request, either, and it will help in the long run. After all, chances are that most people won’t have a cleaning staff with them, day-in and day-out, for their entire lives. So, remember what your parents taught you; clean up after yourself.