Cigarette debris plagues the campus

Giuseppe Cefalu, environmental engineering, cleans the BGS courtyard with the help of several other students. (Courtesy of Giuseppe Cefalu)

Giuseppe Cefalu (contributor)

Let’s admit it, we are so fortunate to be students here at Saddleback College with the superb administration, exceptional professors, abundance of student resources, and a clean environment.

Unfortunately there is one issue that I have been observing here at Saddleback over a period of time, and that issue is the excess cigarette butt litter all over campus.

I’m sure every student has seen them. They cover our floors, planters, benches, lawns, tables, and are even abundant in our bathrooms.

The area most plagued by this debris is right outside of the Business/General Studies building. Many students gather in this area between classes to study, snack, socialize, or smoke a cigarette.

The problem with this is that many of the smokers in this area are not disposing of their cigarette butts properly. Just looking at this field of cigarette butts is disgusting.

The ethics behind the litter is my greatest concern. Are we, as current students, setting a good example for incoming students to our college? Are we expecting the staff at Saddleback to pick up our mess? And what does this say about the way we carry ourselves outside of academia?

These questions don’t need to be answered here, but should guide us in moving forward. On November 23, 2011, I organized a team of four to take action. Patrick Dobson, Jeffrey Whitridge, Bart Piwczynski and I decided to clean up the cigarette butts around the BGS building and in the quad.

We wanted to leave an impression on people, so we created fliers that asked students “What are you contributing to?” with before and after photos of the areas, and then posted them around the BGS building.

As I prepare to end my journey here at saddleback and make my way into the UC system, I felt compelled to give back to Saddleback for all the wonderful education that was provided for me. I feel that my experiences here at Saddleback have helped me become a responsible person.

I hope that the students will begin to dispose of their cigarettes properly, and that they will motivate others to continue this legacy of a clean and respectable campus.

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