UVM students trash local beach
by Kolby LaMarche
Earlier this month, UVM’s premier student ecoists trotted down to North Beach to celebrate the coming of warmer weather and to take part in an annual tradition: trash the beach and blame the City of Burlington. In 2021, the tradition was a roaring success as covered by WCAX. Headlines rang out touting the glory of the responsible, Earth-loving students: “Burlington beaches packed with students spark trash, COVID concerns.” Genius was bound to strike again.
Littered across the beach this year were the usual suspects: cans of White Claw, Budlight, Coors Light, Hard Iced Tea, Truly, and a slew of other beverages. Cardboard boxes, plastic takeaway containers filled with feel-good organics from City Market, and a lone porta-potty overflowing in backed-up human feces with rolls of toilet paper strung all about the floor.
And while UVM’s finest were enjoying their day in the sun, so too were the volunteers who care after the beach. Unfortunately, on the next day instead of enjoying the remnants of what had been a summer-like day, volunteers were out, wistfully brandishing trash-picking contraptions around the beach.
But out of this whole debacle came news of great import: UVM students who parked, illegally, in the old Burlington High School Parking lot got towed, some having to pay $200 to receive their vehicle back! Reagan O’Brian, a UVM sophomore, went on record to state “but you know it was a hefty fee…and I’m someone who can afford that, fortunately, because I have a good support system but a lot of people can’t.” Of course, Reagan! It was the towing company, Burlington School District, and the City which tyrannically imposed such anguish on your sunny day.
Imagine if there were signs that indicated no parking. Imagine if the City and UVM both sent out announcements warning beachgoers not to park at BHS. Imagine if Burlington had a bike path, where you could have scenic access to our public beaches. Oh, wait.
Instead of heeding numerous warnings with the threat of being towed, students decided to do what they do best: dismantle barriers. In fact, two bright orange barriers were blocking the main entrance to the BHS parking lot. That was until the heroic brigade arrived. And instead of enjoying the bike path, students opted to hop in their car, which they probably didn’t buy, blasting their awkwardly titled playlists while gleefully pumping carbon into the air. How rich.
But hey, just a few days later UVM students gathered for an interactive “Eco Fair” at the Davis Center where conversations of sustainable transportation, recycling, and food waste reduction echoed. Sins absolved, Earth saved. Great job to the students of UVM.
Photo courtesy of Wayne Savage, a member of the Burlington community who helped clean their mess up. The author is a climate-concerned student and lifelong Burlingtonian.