The Daily Evergreen

Students should take responsibility

It's our fault local nature areas are closing, now it's time to own our mistakes.

Students need to take into account the impact of the damage they leave behind and work to fix it.

Students need to take into account the impact of the damage they leave behind and work to fix it.



Students need to take into account the impact of the damage they leave behind and work to fix it.

EDITORIAL BOARD, The Daily Evergreen

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Though Granite Point has recently re-opened after a major clean-up of trash and defacing of the cliffs, we have to remember that this is not the first time a major natural area has fallen victim to the carelessness of students and residents.

Kamiak Butte was shut down due to an illegal campfire sparking a wildfire in 2016, while Illia Dunes has been closed multiple times due to human waste, trash and damage to the area.

And though Palouse Falls has yet to succumb to this extreme destruction, it is rampant with people walking off-trail to get a better look at the waterfall that marked paths don’t necessarily provide, which increases the level of danger. This has recently led to a tragic, fatal incident that has forced the park to be temporarily closed.

As WSU students, we make up a majority of the population of visitors in these local natural areas. We are also the bulk of the problem for these issues, ranging from property destruction to extreme health hazards.

And while it’s fun to party and live it up, it’s time for us to stop and look at the big picture — we’re ruining everything.

The blame lies with no one but ourselves. While we may be okay with trashing our own place and destroying property that belongs to us, we must recognize that these resources belong to the population at large, not just WSU students.

We need to look at the opportunities we have been afforded to visit these beautiful nature areas as a privilege that can be taken away, not a right we can freely and unapologetically abuse.

But the best part about this situation is that we are able to fix our mistakes just as much as we are able to make them, and we can recover from them before those mistakes become more permanent and damaging.

We just have to make sure we know when to stop and repair the damage before it’s too late.

We need to take ownership of the area we live in. Yes, we party, and we’re good at it, which absolutely allows us to own it.

But we can’t own the fact that we’re also the school with an amazing wildlife ecology program, then fail to take care of the ecosystems around us.

Or boast that we have an amazing medical program, while also spreading bio-hazardous waste and risking disease through our water systems just because of spring break. It’s reckless.

We already have problems with our athletics taking advantage of us and our money. Let’s not make this another issue, especially when this one is within our control.

WSU President Kirk Schulz can dance around all he wants with his decisions, but we can at least have the dignity to own up to ours and fix our problems.

Maybe he’ll learn a little something when his students give the school a better image than he does just by cleaning up our own messes.

So WSU, it’s time to clean up our act in more ways than one. Let’s party and have an amazing time, but let’s not be stupid about it.

If you’re going to be drunk in a nature area, keep a recycling bin nearby or throw all your trash in the bed of the truck. Park yourself close to the bathroom if you really can’t hold it in, and for the love of wildfire, don’t light a campfire.

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