Nearly 98,000 screaming fans packed into Neyland Stadium naturally produce a lot of excitement, noise and Volunteer Spirit – and trash.
Facilities Services is now experimenting with a more economic method of cleaning the stadium due to the high cost of hiring a professional service. Julianna Burchett, junior in environmental sciences and SGA senator for the College of Arts and Sciences, explained that a contractor previously used by the university would charge $8,000 per game, more than most stadiums, professional or collegiate.
"There are a lot of student organizations on campus, such as the Alternative Break Groups, that have to fund-raise for their trips or have to raise money to send people to conferences," Burchett said. "If you have ever tried to fund-raise any kind of money, then you know that receiving a guaranteed $500 is a pretty big deal."
Logan Terheggen, a member of Students Promoting Environmental Action in Knoxville who also interns with the Office of Sustainability, agreed with Burchett, adding that cleaning up the stadium helps students feel more responsible for their campus.
"I couldn't be more thrilled that students are getting the opportunity to make a difference on their campus in an incredibly symbiotic relationship," Terheggen, sophomore in chemical engineering, said. "Most small student organizations struggle to obtain funding for various projects they want to initiate and this is a wonderfully easy opportunity to earn money for your club while making a difference for your university. I think this is a step in the right direction for the UT."
Burchett said she found the early morning and hard work to be a bonding experience for her group from the UT Outdoor Program.
"We are a group of people that place a high emphasis on leadership," she said. "Being able to come together and utilize our teamwork skills made for a fun day, and personally, I think that outweighs any drawbacks to this system."
Victoria Knight, senior in microbiology and columnist for The Daily Beacon, assisted with the clean up after the Vanderbilt game on Nov. 23 with the nine other students from an Alternative Spring Break group. Knight said she was initially overwhelmed by the amount of work to be completed during the 7 a.m. to 12 p.m. time frame.
"As soon as we got one area semi-cleaned up, there was just miles more of trash to be seen all around the stadium," Knight said. "And though there were quite a few student groups, there were just not enough people to complete it all by the time 12 p.m. rolled around. They did not keep us longer than our projected time, so all the student groups left the stadium before even half of the stadium was cleaned up."
Knight said the experience was an eye-opening one.
"I had no idea before the clean-up how messy people were at the game," Knight said. "It made me really sad that as easy as it is to just go and throw your trash in the trash cans which are just steps away from most people's seats, many people made no effort to do so... It also made me really appreciate the work the people did who used to pick up all the trash. That is a huge job, and must take a ton of manpower and effort to make Neyland look as clean as it does every Saturday."