University of Oxford tackles ‘terrible’ tradition of ‘polluting’ students

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Oxford University is tackling the ‘terrible’ tradition of ‘polluting’ students as officials reject the ‘antisocial and wasteful’ practice, which costs £25,000 each year to clean up

  • Students mess up their classmates’ smart clothes every year after exams
  • Food, alcohol and confetti are thrown over students after they leave exam halls
  • But a campaign has labeled the tradition as wasteful and bad for the environment
  • Christ Church has shut down its famous pasture for two hours, twice a day

The University of Oxford is tackling a long-standing student tradition of throwing food, alcohol and confetti over those finishing their final exams after officials called it “antisocial and wasteful.”

Students do “trash” at the end of each academic year, making a mess of their classmates’ smart clothes as they leave the exam halls for the last time.

But this year, the university and its colleges are trying to put a stop to the practice, with a campaign highlighting the environmental impact and the staggering cost of clean-up afterwards.

Christ Church has now decided to shut down its famous meadow for two hours, twice a day when exams end, so students can’t go to the trash there.

Students celebrate the end of their exams with the tradition of 'trashing', pictured in June 2019

Students celebrate the end of their exams with the tradition of ‘trashing’, pictured in June 2019

The tradition (pictured in 2019) involves throwing food, alcohol and confetti over colleagues

The tradition (pictured in 2019) involves throwing food, alcohol and confetti over colleagues

The tradition (pictured in 2019) involves throwing food, alcohol and confetti over colleagues

James Lawrie, treasurer at Christ Church, said: ‘Christ Church views trash as antisocial behavior that is food waste and potentially harmful to wildlife, and for that reason he is trying to discourage students from going out into the field and practicing this horrible practice. pursue. .’

A special campaign called #StopTrashing has been set up on the university’s website.

The page read: ‘We understand you want to celebrate after your exams, especially after this year’s challenges. However, trash has significant negative social, financial and personal consequences.”

It said waste is ‘disruptive’ to the community, that food waste is ‘reinforcing negative stereotypes about Oxford students’ and that it costs the university £25,000 each year to clean up.

Also, students are often not allowed to enter Oxford’s pubs and bars if they are also ‘polluted’.

In 2019, students were convicted of vandalism at Christ Church Meadow, which was previously closed in 2017 to prevent the practice.

Oxford’s Student Union could not be reached for comment, but students in recent years described trash as fun and a way to blow off steam after exams.

Student surveys show they are reducing waste, with one group even making biodegradable confetti through a company called Eco-Trash, aiming to reduce its impact.

But this year, the university and its colleges are trying to curb the practice (pictured in June 2019), with a campaign highlighting the environmental impact and staggering cost of the cleanup afterward.

But this year, the university and its colleges are trying to curb the practice (pictured in June 2019), with a campaign highlighting the environmental impact and staggering cost of the cleanup afterward.

But this year, the university and its colleges are trying to curb the practice (pictured in June 2019), with a campaign highlighting the environmental impact and staggering cost of the cleanup afterward.

However, Oxford City Council is siding with the university’s hardline over the tradition, which is said to have started in the 1970s.

Mike Rowley, Oxford Council cabinet minister for citizen-centred services, said: ‘Waste can be costly to the local community and the environment.

This weekend alone, we had to spend over three and a half hours diverting resources to clean Merton Street, Oriel Square, Radcliffe Square and Quaking Bridge.

‘I want to thank the university for helping with the cleanup: in 2019 they supported the cleanup with over £7k for the work it does after the trash.’

He added: “Please celebrate in a thoughtful way. Some celebrations have scattered litter and other waste, including broken glass, around the city center, causing unavoidable safety issues.

“There is also a growing trend to use powder paint bombs that stain the pavement and are expensive and difficult to clean. We welcome students as part of Oxford’s vibrant and diverse community – don’t ruin it.’

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