Appalled students clean up after President’s Dinner attendees

Appalled students clean up after President’s Dinner attendees

by Andrew Doran

On Oct. 5, President Erika D. Beck held her annual President’s Dinner on South Quad. This dinner aims to create and gather funds in order to continue to grow CI through support stipends for students. While the dinner ended up raising over $70,000 for the University, there was an unfortunate outcome to the dinner.

They ended up leaving a lot of trash.

Cassie Rodgers, the president of the CI Surfrider Foundation Club was one of the first students to see all the trash that was left on South Quad two days after the event had taken place. “I was sitting there setting up a table (for a club event) and I thought, ‘this has to be a joke,’” said Rodgers. “I saw this trash everywhere.”

And that she did. Rodgers said that there was trash all over the South Quad, ranging from pamphlets with the President’s Dinner agenda on them, to plastic cups and utensils, to a script book with the speakers’ notes.

“The way it was set up, I thought it had to be a class thing,” said Rodgers. But as more students started to join her for a club event, they too were in disbelief. “There was another club member from Green Generation that was there and said, ‘Do you see all this trash?’ Okay, so I’m not crazy. So, we started to clean it all up, and all these other students started to help out,” said Rodgers.

As Rodgers and others started to pick up trash, other students came out of the Islands Café to help out. They put their to-go boxes on the ground and helped clean up South Quad. Some of those students who live on campus told Rodgers that they had seen the trash around since Saturday night, but figured someone would clean it up on Sunday. Obviously, that did not happen.

Multiple clubs also expressed disappointment at the amount of trash that was left by the dinner.

Liz Neumeyer, the secretary of the Green Generation Club said, “I feel like if the President’s meeting was all about sustainability, then why weren’t sustainable practices, practiced?” In addition, the Senator for Sustainability and Technology of Student Government, Natasha Saxena, wrote the following to The CI View, “Many of the students are…a part of the generation that will be most impacted by climate change, so it is more personal. Climate change is daunting and terrifying; but when you really look at it, it is a series of events that have added up, similar to this. Right now is the time to take action and not let these situations go unnoticed.”

“I saw this trash everywhere.”

Cassie Rodgers, the president of the CI Surfrider Foundation Club

Cassie Rodgers, president of the CI Surfrider Foundation Club

With multiple clubs upset and confused as to why there was so much trash, President Beck emailed a statement agreeing with the outrage. She wrote, “I was also deeply disturbed to learn about the trash left on our campus and am very grateful to the students who brought it to my attention. Action has already been taken to ensure that this never happens again. Our campus is an incredibly beautiful and special place. I am so proud that our students care so deeply about keeping it that way.”

In the end, Rodgers did not want to single out President Beck because the blame solely did not rest on her. “My objective was not to target her (President Beck), because every single person that left trash there is at fault. It’s (the fault of) the event planners for not planning a clean up after it,” said Rodgers. “There are many other people involved that could have stopped this from happening or cleaned it up.”

In the future, more and more students will keep an eye on how the University picks up and disposes of their trash, especially with CI creating a goal of getting rid of single-use plastics and decreasing trash levels. Rodgers is still hopeful about the future. “I know (President Beck) cares about this campus. She does a lot of work for sustainability. I’m happy that she acknowledged it, and it seems that she will (hopefully) be doing something about it.”

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