Guest column: RV tailgating, a townie perspective

Criticizing alumni, visitors for disrespecting campus is hypocritical, inaccurate, wrong

MICHELLE PINGREE, Guest columnist

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Life in Pullman starts in August with move-in and syllabus week. All available dumpsters are crammed full. Items overflow onto the ground, blow around town or are carried off by the local magpie gang. Music, yelling, screaming, racing cars, sirens and more loud music dominate the once-quiet summer nights.

Into fall, Pullman calms. Ahh, cool breezes. But wait: it’s football season.

Locals know to grocery shop ahead of or during the game. Many leave town or simply never leave home. Fall is also when newly-independent adults fulfill the fantasy of owning a puppy.

Here comes the poop that does not put itself into the trash, the pets that bark or run loose due to absent caretakers or the ankle nips received because you are either ill-equipped or ill-inclined to train that animal.

The holidays bring Pullman again to a sense of calm and quiet. Students leave — this is not really their “home” — and life for the rest of us calms.

Spring comes and so does another round of disruption. May is again the time for garbage. Not just blowing out of overflowing dumpsters, but left on the street with a “free” sign. Oh, by the way, that garbage does not disappear by itself. We, the citizens, pick it up or call the city. Your surplus is my dump run.

Students use and abuse Pullman, treating it as the temporary relationship it is. Dog poop, couches, desks, beer cans, broken glass, bikes, clothing, you name it: I can show you where it landed. I read the articles about the RV lot and I wonder if this same angst will carry over to the students who use my town.

Will you take responsibility for your role in the current misuse of this community? Will you, the same student who complains about losing your parking space, be the same one who leaves your futon on the corner or throws your bottles off the deck onto the walking trail?

I appreciate the upset of football weekends and other key WSU events. However, I do not appreciate the proportion by which you think your life is disrupted. I live in Pullman for my job.

Pullman chose me and I try to do the best I can. But, frankly, it p-sses me off when I am left to live with your garbage, your noise, your impatience and your overall disregard of my home and my community.

Perhaps these tailgaters are the same folks who were here only temporarily. Perhaps these are the offenders who thought nothing of throwing their couch down the hill or letting their dog poop all over town or who drank at the endless parties on College Hill. These same folks may have paid hundreds, nay, thousands of dollars to return to the “place they love,” their WSU home.

The previously bottle-chucking-now-parking-space-taking offenders may now be ticket-paying-generous-donating alumni. Our town, our campus. Full circle it comes. Payback is a b-tch, huh?