Words But Not Deeds


Courtesy of Creative Commons, Edited by Briana Gallo

Briana Gallo, Journalist

Take a trek down around campus and what can you see? Trash here and trash there, trash everywhere. Every day people litter our precious campus mindlessly.

Presentation is dirty and, in short, it is our fault.

While discussing the state of the campus, Dean of Students Peggy Schrader said there has been an improvement in students keeping the campus clean. However, unless we are all blind, there is no denying that the state of our campus still leaves something to be desired.  

There are two ways to view this dilemma. Let us begin with the good news: Presentation students are aware that our campus is not clean. We know that it is our responsibility to take care of the campus as we share this space with each other.

Freshman Elise Buellesbach speaks for most students at Pres when she says, “It [Presentation campus] should be treated similarly [to our own homes], if not better because here not only is it your second home, but you are sharing your second home with 800 other girls.”

Presentation is not only a sacred place that we are blessed to be attending every day, but also a communal space. For our dignity and the dignity of the campus that gives us so much, it is our responsibility to treat it with the same respect it treats us with.

The bad news is that Pres girls rarely act on this. Think about how often you refer to Pres as your second home. Now think about how often you actually clean up after yourself like you would in your own home.

On the downside, although we know it is our duty to keep the campus clean, we lack fulfillment of such responsibilities. Look around, people–we have no one else to blame but ourselves.

A student I spoke to who wished to remain anonymous said it is sad how dirty our campus is and that we do not clean up after ourselves because we get busy with “sports.” She continued to say that because many students do not take responsibility for their messes, it is the role of the janitors to clean up after us.

While her responses were shocking, I was more surprised by the hypocrisy. This student said she regularly tries to clean up messes regardless if it is hers or not. Yet there were multiple pieces of trash sitting right next to her and it remained there even after our direct conversation when I checked on the same spot later that day.

It is this exact attitude of avoiding selfless tasks that plagues most students, including myself. As trash continues to pile up and the student perspective of responsibility wavers, respect for our campus lessens as a result.

The Broken Windows Theory states that, “If a window is broken and not repaired quickly, soon more windows will be broken as the perception that no one cares about the building spreads.” Pres is putting this theory to the test. Students see messes already around campus and begin to believe it is out of their control, and thus feel no remorse about contributing to it. We feel less connected to the campus because it is dirty and are less likely to have hope in stopping it.

Many students may argue that it is not everyone’s fault and blame others for leaving their trash in the first place. If we each cleaned up our own trash, then we would not have such a mess, right? Wrong.

We can tell people to clean up their trash every single day, but there are still going to be people who neglect to do so and probably always will. Just because their litter is their fault does not change the fact that trash still sits on campus and other students do not take initiative for it instead.

To be frank, this situation goes against our motto, “Not Words But Deeds.” We say it is our responsibility to clean up. We say we love our campus. We say we are stewards of creation. But where are the deeds when plenty of trash still litters this campus while you read this article?

Ultimately, we need to be grateful for this campus. If Ms. Schrader’s PA announcements are not inspiring enough, hopefully we can be motivated by her when she says, “We share this environment together so… I would hope that we all take pride in our campus and keep our campus clean.”