Each year, UGA students flock to St. Simons island, for the Georgia/Florida game. The annual exodus is a great show of support for the Bulldogs, but the aftermath showcases a more negative side: extensive litter, with which the residents are left.

This excessive littering is harmful for the environment, as foam coolers and cigarette butts make their way into habitats and foliage. Volunteers in the area can only clean up so much, and the environmental damage that incurs from leftover trash can cause permanent damage over time.

By disposing of trash in the proper containers available, littering can be heavily cut down and the Jacksonville residents can hope to continue on with their lives after the hectic weekend. Being intoxicated is no excuse for dumping trash in the ocean or littering the sand with beer cans when a trash can is available nearby.

The litter created by UGA students may be the product of an annual, temporary length of partying but the residents who clean it up remember. Their opinion of UGA students steeps lower with every piece of garbage that litters their front yards and beaches. Keep in mind that someone has to clean up afterwards.

This respect is pivotal to representing the University as a whole and extends to all aspects of the game. The residents are not the members of Florida’s team; destroying or vandalizing property will not help UGA.

The partying is a popular part of the game, but being St. Simons for a day on does not give rights to indecency. You can have fun without passing out in a restaurant or harassing a taxi driver. Again, it is vital to remember that people live and work in Jacksonville, and your actions should not disrupt their lives.

You can also aid in the cleanup yourself, and through the experience may meet a number of interesting individuals. At the least, avoid bringing Styrofoam containers and find trash cans to dispose of any litter in.

Georgia/Florida weekend is traditionally a massive party, but that does not excuse UGA students from trashing homes, workplaces and the environment. While over the years the litter has been reduced thanks to University organizations and Jacksonville’s efforts, it is up to each individual to take responsibility for his or her trash.

— Joe Youorski for the editorial board

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