Each time someone posts in the Denison Student Body page on Facebook, my phone notifies me with a resounding ding. I’m sure this daily interjection is something I could fix in my settings, but the ensuing updates are generally informative or amusing. A poster advertising an upcoming event, a lost key, phone or necklace, a meme about the utter failures of the new registration system, etc. Rarely is the disruption something that grinds my gears- because there’s not a lot that does.
But lately, there’s a new trend amongst the sporadic posts, and I’ve had enough. Posts of garbage left lying across campus are accumulating like the waste itself. Photos show this happening in Slayter, around the sunnies and in study rooms. We’ve all seen it, we’ve probably done it and it’s not okay.
Fortunately, there’s another person posting photos of trash online, for a very different reason. Christina Lynne Thompson-Black shares a Dove candy wrapper nearly every week. Once the chocolate has been consumed, these silver wrappers bear an motivating message or uplifting reminder.
Thompson-Black says she hopes “… to make at least one person feel inspired by the quotes I post.”
She’s worked at Denison for 12 years as of this February, and shared that students “… feeling the importance of being kind to each other is the biggest thing I hope for from everyone on this campus.”
Her caring sentiments do not stand alone. We’ve all had our moment of undeserved kindness from a dining hall or student union worker. A simple smile amidst a bad day, a “How’re you doing today sweetie?”- these kindnesses should not be so easily forgotten. When we fail to take the few steps to a trash can, these people are the same ones left to pick up our chip bags and soda bottles, the vestiges of our busy yet privileged days carelessly abandoned.
Does posting a photo online make a difference? Sure, maybe momentarily it gets our attention. I personally share the opinion that picking up after ourselves should not be the responsibility of the humans who work tirelessly across campus on our behalf.
I appreciate the attempts to increase awareness, and prompt proactivity. But I’d hope the students taking the time to upload a photo would also take a moment out of their day to clean up the mess.
I’d hope an issue like this would not need addressing, on a campus where just by being here we are all so fortunate in so many ways. And I’d hope the next time a photo of trash comes up on my Facebook feed, it’s simply the kind intentions of a campus worker hoping to brighten someone’s day.