In Response to: Reunions 2009

Although I’ve not been able to get back to the campus for Reunions for more than 20 years, it’s always fun to catch some of the flavor via the photos in PAW. This year, however, I was taken aback by the photo showing the littered grounds after the P-rade (cover story, July 15). The caption says the trash load was “larger this year,” implying that littering is the norm every year.

I was reading this issue while attending the annual airshow gathering in Oshkosh, Wis., which draws more than half a million people over the course of a week. Yet at the end of the week, and in fact at the end of every day, you will find virtually no litter. There’s no crew of employees following everyone around with trash bags and brooms; rather, the organizers take a few simple steps that work. First, there are sufficient trash receptacles placed reasonably handily. Second, they ask everyone who comes through the gates to use them. People do. It’s not unusual to watch someone see a piece of litter blowing on the ground and pick it up to throw away. It’s in the culture of the event.

Wouldn’t it be beneficial, both financially and aesthetically, if we could develop a similar culture for Reunions? May I propose that the University place sufficient trash barrels along the P-rade route and at reunion sites, and that each class remind its members that we’d like to leave the place as beautiful as we found it? Isn’t that also setting a good example for all our children who attend (and watch what we are doing)? In short, I’m suggesting that we each treat our campus just as we would our own backyard.

Don Heitzmann ’70