Students take advantage of the warm weather to relax on Staller Steps. With more people utilizing the public space, it is important to keep it clean for everyone to enjoy. MAX WEI/STATESMAN FILE

Dear Colleagues,

The Staller Steps are integral to Stony Brook’s character. They evoke a sentimentality by acting as an escape from academics, where students can immerse themselves in the creative energy of organizations on campus or lie in the sun to decompress. Its unique vantage point, along with the laughter of fellow students and the guy who just learned “Smoke On The Water” on guitar, renders the location therapeutic.

We all love relaxing there on a warm afternoon when the breeze has been dialed in perfectly. The frisbee players, the sunbathers, and the bookworms populate the sunny areas and set the ambiance. Maybe there will be a saxophone player improvising jazz to further ease tension. Yes, there could be fraternity brothers loudly egging each other into shotgunning another beer, or people who have not yet been notified that speakers are not supposed to replace headphones. However, these annoyances are easy to forgive with the range of activities to watch and participate in. Later, as the night grows cold and people begin to leave, the Staller steps become a completely different story.

This leads me to my one request. One so fundamentally basic that it would seem foolish to ask of adults, but one that has been dismissed out of a growing negligence and contempt:


Pick up your trash.

While it is acceptable to bring your twelve-packs of Bud Light and take-out containers from the dining facilities to the steps, the product of your well-earned break from class is almost invariably a sea of trash. I find empty beer cans, moldy pieces of pizza, and substances of unknown origins entwined in the grass the morning after. I remind you that the steps are a public good, and should be maintained as such.

The workers who could be gardening, repairing the fountain near the Humanities building, or making the campus more aesthetically pleasing for the accepted students are instead bogged down by retrieving litter that would have taken at most ten seconds for you to place in the garbage can. It is unnecessary, and frankly contemptible.

It is somewhat ironic, too. RecycleMania recently completed its campaign towards proper waste management, and even after seeing its aggressive campaign, you continue to act unjustifiably entitled.


I sense that I am coming off as an overbearing parent, so I will end this letter on a similar note: I am not angry, I am just disappointed.

Your Classmate,

Scott Terwilliger


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