Students, clean up your table when you finish


Liza Armstrong

Junior Lauren Robert cleans up her lunch table as she comes in to third lunch.

Liza Armstrong, Online Editor

At the beginning of each day, all the cafeteria tables shine with the kind of shimmer that can only come from a laborious cleaning job, all the thanks to our hardworking custodians. However, by the time third lunch comes around, my friends and I experience the daily pain of waiting until our “mom” friend pulls out her wipes in an attempt to make the table appear somewhat clean. This happens every single day, and much of the filth comes from easily removable items, like granola wrappers, plastic bags and even empty beef jerky bags. This mess is not the custodians’ responsibility to pick up your garbage, it is yours.

To grasp the full picture, one must understand the use of the tables throughout the day.  Before the first bell for the start of school, students congregate around tables, but most do not create trash in these five to ten minutes.  The tables then do not experience major student traffic again until the three lunches, and as someone that has had all three lunches in this school year, I feel qualified to describe such a scene.  

First lunch obviously has the cleanest tables as no food has been ingested and no trash has been left scattered for others to deal with, but most are respectful of the fact that there are two lunches after them, keeping their runaway trash to a minimum.  Therefore, I put most of the blame on those who have second lunch.

Now, it is obviously not everyone’s fault, and many students do pick up after themselves, but the difference in cleanliness between second and third lunches is illogical.  When I had second lunch first semester, most of the tables were clean enough that touching anything to its surface didn’t make you squirm, but now that I have third lunch every time I walk into the cafeteria it’s a mad dash to get to the tables that are not covered in mystery veggies, wrappers, bottle caps and unidentifiable crumbs.  

All of this mess is made in 25 minutes.  Maybe it’s the fact that the lunchroom is never squeaky clean when second lunch strolls into the cafeteria.  Maybe it’s the fact that none of the on duty faculty berate students for not cleaning up (however by high school people should not be told that they need to clean up after themselves).  Do they see the slightly messy tables and think “hey my mess is their mess”, “I only contributed to the mess that was already here” or “third lunch won’t care, they’re used to it” (it should be noted, I myself have experienced all of these thoughts during my time with second lunch).   While yes, people can be messy eaters, there is no logical reason that we can not pick up after ourselves if we do make such a mess.

It is not the custodians’ job to pick up after our messes, especially when these messes are trash that we are capable of walking to a trash can that is not even 50 feet from you.  If you are prone to being a messy eater, please take precautions to ensure that your food will not make the unfortunate souls stuck in third lunch react in disgust. Please, just remember that the tables are shared by all and no one wants to see the remnants of your lunch, so pick up after yourself and let us all enjoy arguably one of the best parts of a school day.