A trashy beach

RWU is arguably one of the most beautiful campuses on the East Coast. Living here, you are never more than a few minutes’ walk from one beach or another. There is always a sense of joy that most students here seem to share as a result of this.

Hailing from the coastal state of New Jersey, I would say that one of the most popular places to visit is the Jersey Shore. From Jenkinson’s Boardwalk to Wildwood, the people of Jersey head to our various beaches en masse as soon as there is warm weather, and this seems to be a universal fact for anyone who can get to where water meets land. It seems like there are always at least a few students on the beach during all hours of the day on this campus. Yet despite the amazing sights and sounds afforded to us as students of a beach-side university, we still find ways to ruin it.

The other day I was down by the beach behind Willow, simply enjoying the perfect weather and receding tide, when I had a short but thought-provoking interaction.  There was a roughly middle-aged woman carrying around a bag who would occasionally bend down to pick something up. I thought nothing of it at first, thinking that she was probably picking up shells. Our paths eventually crossed and after a quick comment about the weather she said, “No better place to pick up glass than by a college.”   

Now, it is important to note that the tide does bring in a lot of sea glass and this beach is also not university property, which means plenty of non-students go there. However, this got me thinking that she has a real point here.  

We as college students are a major source of pollution on the beaches on and around campus. We share at least some of the responsibility for keeping these places clean, and there are lots of students who take this responsibility into their own hands. Anyone who is down on the beaches with frequency will see other students carrying trash bags and collecting garbage simply because they care.  It is truly a wonderful thing and I encourage all students to partake in small actions like that. It doesn’t have to be an all-day affair with a large group or even with any specific goal, except to clean up a portion of beach whenever you get the chance. 

If solo or a small group is not really your forte, there are many options to go out with larger, more organized groups. The Feinstein Center For Service Learning and Community Engagement is teaming up with “Save the Bay” on Sept. 28 to clean up the pebble beach. There are also other event locations where “Save the Bay” will be sponsoring cleanups. 

All of this is great, but it is for naught if we continue this way or get worse.  The simple answer is to tell people to “stop polluting,” but we all know that is a pipe dream.   

So, what can we do so beach cleanups aren’t the only thing between us and waves of trash?  Well, one option I’ve come up with is to place a few garbage bins on the beach. Some may say they are an eyesore, but I’d simply ask them if broken glass and various scattered litter looks better.  So, what do you think should be done dear reader, if anything?