I am writing to you for a few reasons, but mostly in response to the editorial by Connor Edrington entitled “Butt-barriers’ block real ecological progress.”
Most of my frustration from Edrington’s article stems from his inability to articulate a well-reasoned opinion without getting lost in his stylistic antics.
Instead Edrington makes rash judgments, rude jokes and quotes his sources so they seem incompetent, all for want of filling space and making deadline.
Mr. Edrington argues that these “butt-barriers” will “probably not” enforce the tobacco-free policy that is now on campus, and that these new barriers now cause more littering, presumably from people choosing not to dispose of their trash properly.
First, these do help enforce the tobacco policy, if only even in the subliminal. Concordia is showing that there is not a receptacle specifically for smoker’s waste, which is a small hint to both students, faculty and visitors you shouldn’t be smoking on campus.
Second, the whole idea that not having a receptacle for smokers causes more littering is insulting. Concordia should not be expected to provide a bin to snuff out cigarettes that should not be smoked on campus. If you have a smoldering tobacco product, snuff it out on the metal or rock sides like a big kid and toss the remainder of your cigarette in the receptacle. It is that simple. If there were, for example, Pop-Tart wrappers as Edrington suggests, on the ground would you blame Concordia? Or would you blame the people who are littering? If the butts remain on the ground that’s the fault of those smoking them, not the college.
Edrington also comments that the “butt barriers” are a sham attempt to make Concordia seem like a utopia of eco-friendliness and that by putting eco-friendly reminders on the trash bins Concordia is actually saying that “Smoking is against the rules and we won’t allow rule-breakers to ruin the environment” (a statement that is not explained by Edrington). My understanding is these “tiny billboards” are small reminders to students, faculty, and visitors to think about what we are throwing away and whether it can be recycled. Then later on these billboards could work as advertising space for student organizations.
Lastly on Edrington’s article, after he makes an incorrect summary of Erica Bjelland’s quote, he states that dealing with the ash urn couldn’t possibly be a waste of time and/or money. Speaking from personal experience with ash-urn-topped trashcans, I can tell you –they do. Those ash receptacles are removable, which is nice in concept, however it means that when you take out the garbage in these cans you have to remove the urn, set it someplace and then deal with the trash, then after replace the urn. This doesn’t sound like much time wasted but if you have to do this for every trash can on campus, it adds up in time, and thus money. Therefore it is a significant waste of resources to maintain the urns when Concordia just banned the product that the urn is used with.
Overall, I think the Concordian can and should do better. Better research, better writing, and better editing of the paper as a whole. Not only were multiple photos used in the November 6th issue pixelated beyond discernment, (See “The true value of fans”), but the area of global news had the same headline for all parts of the world. Sean, we know you think this is funny, but for those of us who read the paper weekly, we are not amused. Since you are the Editor-in-Chief and claim to treat this as a real newspaper, please start acting like it.
I really enjoy the Concordian, especially some of the online articles/writings like “Real Friends at The Garage, 10/28/14.” Maybe putting these types articles in the printed newspaper would be a better use of resources.
Emma Eckberg ‘18
This article was submitted by Emma Eckberg, contributing writer.