Don’t Pollute Our Swamp!


A. Rudolph

Gators at lunch.

An ongoing problem has developed during the the Gators’ Chomp Time: a lack of clean up in the new cafeteria. This dilemma became so severe that Ms. Summers had to go on the intercom after lunch last Wednesday to give the students a warning that, “If students don’t begin to pick up their trash during lunch, there will be consequences.”

The question is, why should we bother to clean up? Yes, it is important for hygiene and to lighten the load of the janitorial staff. But I think that the most important reason for picking up after ourselves is for school pride–and to be a Gator. Mr. Carrington, our Assistant Principal of Instruction, told us that, “In times like these people often jump to blame, but even if you aren’t to blame you need to care about how your school looks. Exhibiting care for school shows school pride.” When a person is proud of something they will take care of it and want to show it off. Having pride for our school is important because we want people to have an amazing first impression of our school when they walk through the door. As Ms. Summers said, “I’ve been to a lot of different schools, and what sets schools apart are the receptionist and the cleanliness of the school. People make first impressions based on looks.” We want to be known as a school that is set apart by our amazing staff, students, and pride. We as Gators need to set an example to visitors of Green Level on how to treat our school.  

But we don’t want the staff of our school making all the decisions for us about the length of our lunch time. If we simply have a bunch of people in charge making up the resolutions then people won’t pick up their trash because they are proud, but because they have to, or are in fear of punishment. Even Ms. Summers shared recently “My preference is for students to come up with a solution. We want everyone to contribute to our school.” Our school decisions should made based on collaboration between students and faculty, and this is our chance as students to show that we can be a part of that process. 

Some will say that the solution to this problem should simply be that students pick up their own trash after themselves. Unfortunately, that change will not happen overnight and we may all have to be a part of the solution, even if we don’t think we’re part of the problem. One idea that the Leadership in Media team came up with was that clubs, sports teams, or even just groups of friends could sign up for a week or day of the week when they were willing to put in 5-10 minutes to make sure that our school is left in good share after the lunch period ends. 

We as Green Level students need to lead the charge to solve this problem. After all, we are the only ones that can really do anything about it. The student body needs to join together to come up with an idea to stop this. It doesn’t matter if you did it or not–everybody can help! What really matters is the joining of the grades for the betterment of the school. So, what are you going to do about this mess?