Dolores Park is a gem of modern San Francisco. It’s the beach we wish we had, the unofficial vacation spot when for those weekends when you’re too broke to leave the city, a gathering place for all — from techies, to college students to the iconic Dolores Park truffle guy. Because so many USF students frequent the park, we should be appalled at the state the park was left in earlier this month.
The first weekend of April was one of the first sunny weekends of the year, which attracted droves of people to Dolores. After enjoying the weather, these park-goers left behind beer bottles, food wrappers, brown paper bags and other sorts of trash. So much trash was left in the park that the typical green fields (pictured below) turned into a scene from a ocean pollution documentary.
The sheer quantity of trash led the SF Recreation and Parks department to send 80 city workers to clean the park for hours, according to CBS San Francisco. They collected over 400 bags of trash. Besides being a waste of city resources, this is plain immature. One our earliest lessons is how to clean up after ourselves.
The Foghorn understands that the fun Dolores Park offers is sometimes accompanied by an intoxicating absence of mindfulness. But if you can enjoy the fun, you should be expected to handle cleaning up afterwards.
People leaving their trash at Dolores isn’t anything new. The same thing happened last year after the first sunny weekend of spring. Even more disappointing, the incident last year came right after a $20.5 million restoration to Dolores Park. Part of the restoration was adding bins to hold 26,624 more gallons of recycling and 21,058 more gallons of trash. The added bins were supposed to solve Dolores’ trash problem, but the park was left scattered with litter anyways.
The issue is not that Dolores Park doesn’t have enough garbage bins, it’s that people don’t bother to walk to the garbage bins in the first place. This is simply unacceptable. Of course, we don’t know whether or not any USF students significantly contributed to the litter at the park — what happens at Dolores, stays at Dolores. However, USF students need to recognize their role as representatives of both our university and our beautiful city when they leave campus. Part of being a representative of USF is holding each other accountable.
An action we can all take is simply pointing out to people when they leave their trash behind. Or, if you’re not a confrontational person, picking up that trash by ourselves. USF instills Jesuit values in their students to go out and “change the world from here.” But we don’t even have to go out to change the world. We can just start in our own backyard.
The above picture is from Dolores Park on Friday, March 31. The below was taken the next afternoon.