The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


The student news site of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology


This error message is only visible to WordPress admins

Error: No feed found.

Please go to the Instagram Feed settings page to create a feed.

Lead Editorial: Tragedy of the Commons

Hallways and common spaces across Jefferson suffer from trash left over from lunch
E. Li
When navigating the halls of Jefferson, it’s hard not to acknowledge the trash left behind.

From the November 2023 Issue of tjTODAY

As you hurriedly rush to your third period after lunch, one cannot help but acknowledge the vast amounts of trash left all over the school. In spite of the waste bins no less than six steps away, hallways and commons visibly suffer from a lack of student motivation to keep the school clean.

Due to the single lunch period Jefferson utilizes, the school runs into the unique issue of having to clean up two entire floors worth of leftover trash. Additionally, with class sizes increasing over the last three years, the school now sits at a capacity of over 2000 students, a substantial increase from the days before COVID. 

To place these issues into a specific context, look no further than the library at Jefferson. Once entirely available to the public during lunchtimes, nearly every day was a chaotic mess of noisy students and illicit food. 

While reflecting on last year, a sentiment expressed by librarians was the desire to create a sanctuary for students to escape the business of school during lunch. This calm environment, however, could not coexist with the standing lunch format for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to the noise levels of students, and the sightings of mice in the library following instances of leftover food on the floor.

In one final demonstration of this clamorous environment, the library was the target of one of last year’s senior pranks, the plan: storm the library and eat food. While it was reportedly underwhelming on multiple fronts, students still went out of their way to ignore and even antagonize the librarians, a fact that unsurprisingly upset them. 

Initial plans were drawn up for the new sign up system toward the beginning of last year. What this means is, although the senior prank did not bring about changes to the structure of lunch, it certainly pointed out a need for it.

While the librarians have revealed to us there exists some wiggle room with regard to the capacity of students who may sign up, it appears the system is here to stay. As such, to ensure a similar situation does not play out in the years to come, students must come to terms with the role they play when it comes to picking up after themselves.

As of now, efforts to better the situation have been purely top-down. That is to say, administrators and teachers have been the sole voices of the movement. Either through verbal reminders every morning over the intercom or signs distributed across the school, the influence of these notifications can only reach so far.

As such, seeing as how efforts from our administration either go unnoticed or are actively disregarded, change must start with us, the students. Whether that be filling your roll, reminding others to do the same, or picking up after someone else knowing full well that the act will go unrecognized, nothing will get done unless you see it through. Being mindful towards the staff who we may not interact with every day is vital in showing respect for the hard work and time they put into maintaining Jefferson. 

In addition to our actions during lunchtime, an overall mentality shift may also be necessary within the community. To consider Jefferson not as a temporary space you occupy, but rather as a home away from home, then and only then will an appreciation for the building and those who work to make it presentable, develop.

Story continues below advertisement
Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

Information about our comments policy can be found here:
All tjTODAY Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *