Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Tackle Halloweekend litter

Natán Murillo

On UT’s campus, a major sanitary issue persists: trash. Littering, especially during seasonal holidays, has become an unwelcome tradition, tarnishing the areas students use every single day. With Halloween coming up, it’s important for students to do their part and keep campus as pristine as possible. 

As the weather cools and holidays rapidly approach, our campus transforms into a hub of festive celebrations. Parties, costume parades and outdoor gatherings are held all over campus, but the aftermath of these events make themselves known with strewn candy wrappers, discarded costume accessories and disposable decorations littered across the Forty Acres. 

Biochemistry sophomore Pranavi Garlapadi discussed her experience with excess trash during the holidays and why it remains a campus problem. 

“I think especially because a lot of people come into Austin during Halloween and the holiday season, there are just a lot more people on West Campus, and there are a lot more events and stuff going on,” Garlapadi said. “There’s definitely an increase in trash, and it’s very noticeable.”

Austin is incredibly popular for its Halloweekend festivities, leading to an influx of people, such as students from surrounding colleges and other young people who attend events and parties. This transitory increase in population impacts city waste and leads to overflowing outdoor trash bins. It’s beneficial for the student body to get involved, as this littering impacts students living on or near campus. Not only does it look bad, the walking space trash can take up, as well as its smell, can hurt student standards of living. 

One way to combat excess trash is through community engagement. The University offers various sustainability initiatives that students can get involved in. Joining organizations dedicated to environmental conservation or participating in volunteer clean-up efforts are easy ways to get involved. By fostering a culture of responsible waste disposal and encouraging others to do the same, we can collectively reduce litter on our campus. 

“Students who are involved with a student organization can organize their own campus cleanup,” said director of sustainability Jim Walker. “They just have to coordinate with environmental health and safety and landscape services and resource recovery … no student has to feel like they need to change the world on their own. There’s always others sharing a similar motivation, and you just have to go find those others.” 

While community involvement can help mitigate littering, students must consider their contribution to the quantity of waste. The responsibility of keeping campus clean shouldn’t only fall to those cleaning up after the fact. It’s important to acknowledge the change that should be made before and during these events. UT students should look to decrease and minimize the impact of their waste by changing their consumption during seasonal holidays as well. 

“Can they reduce the amount of materials that they’re buying for that holiday or that season?” Walker said. “Can they reuse things they already have instead? If they’re going to get rid of something, be mindful about where they’re putting it.” 

As Halloween approaches, remember that actions have consequences, and the responsibility to maintain the beauty of our campus lies with each of us. By working together and being proactive, we can significantly reduce littering. It’s time for the UT community to rise to the occasion and demonstrate our commitment to sustainability.

Narwekar is a philosophy and economics sophomore from Coppell, Texas.

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