By Lorelei Poch
It’s a Saturday night in September and you just finished your dinner and first White Claw Hard Seltzer. You down another one and bump trap music in your living room to prepare to go out. You shove three seltzers and a random Bud Light from your fridge in your bag and head for the 100’s with a few friends. You spot more of your pals gathered on the outskirts of the mob and take out a seltzer to chug as you join the conversation about how many first years are out tonight. Cans litter the ground all around so you toss your can behind you and think, “No biggie, someone will pick it up.”
For 16 years that someone was facility and grounds staff member Barry Von Sleet on Sunday mornings. “On a good day everything is picked up by 9 a.m., but sometimes that is how long it takes to just clean up the 300s,” Von Sleet said while he grabbed litter from the 300’s field on a recent Sunday at 6:30 a.m. He has worked almost every Sunday since he was around 20 years old picking up trash on Saint Michael’s campus.
Starting at 6 a.m, he lugs around a gray trash barrel and uses a picker-upper claw to snag the trash without touching it. He deals with beer cans, bottles, Einstein’s boxes and miscellaneous litter until the grounds are litter free and it seems as if no parties took place just a few hours before.
Even though there are four recycling bins out in the 300’s alone, they remain pitifully empty with garbage surrounding them. Do students care about recycling their cans, bottles and containers when they’re drunk?
“The 100s were horrible Friday night, we were expecting to see trash in the morning but when we passed by it was completely clean,” said Iset Maldonado ‘21, a member of the baseball team. “Most friends probably toss their cans,” he added, but some of them occasionally collect the cans to redeem them at a local redemption center for money back.
If giving the facilities staff some time back on their weekends or participating in making conscious efforts to save our environment doesn’t motivate you to dispose of your recyclables properly, perhaps the monetary gain just a brief walk down the road will.
On a recent Sunday, this reporter, with the help of two friends, picked up recyclable cans and bottles from the 300s and 100s. Even though Von Sleet had already been working to clean the grounds, we ended up with three full trash bags of recyclables. This later turned into $15 at the redemption center behind the Beverage Warehouse down Route 15.