Students will leave their university behind during spring break, but they will still have an opportunity to represent the ‘Runners with the same character we strive for on campus.

The general public has a low opinion of spring breakers; coverage of the mess and trouble that many students leave on beaches at the top spring break locations, such as South Padre, TX or Ft. Lauderdale, FL, gives the public every reason to be unimpressed.

We believe UTSA students are different and will prove so by respecting their travel destinations. By doing so, the students will exemplify UTSA’s, on the rise, reputation. ‘Runners will earn admiration by partying hard, but with self-control.

Last year, photos of beaches covered in garbage post-spring break made the rounds in the major news cycle. USA Today reported a direct correlation with a rise in garbage on the beach with spring break.

Project Know pinpointed the top spring break destination by exploring social media through hashtags, such as #springbreak. Their research found Florida cities to be the most popular, but that doesn’t leave Texas out.

Florida, in response to the influx of waste on the beach, unrolled a campaign to keep their beaches clean. The campaign is similar to Texas’ famous phrase “Don’t Mess With Texas,” but the city didn’t put all the responsibility of keeping the beaches clean on the vacationers.

Gulf Shores implemented a litter ordinance in 2016 that addressed the issue and warned people to clean up after themselves or face litter fines up to $500. The city also placed trash cans and recycle bins every 200 feet on the beach and changes those cans twice a day.

In Texas, different campaigns have been tested and implemented. Port Isabel-South Padre had piloted the “Cash for Trash” program in 2010. The program has been an on-and-off program that is back in effect this year.

The “Cash for Trash” is a program where a patron pays a beach user entry fee of $5.00 but then will be charged an additional $5.00 for a trash bag deposit on every vehicle entering. When students exit that day, they will be refunded $5.00 in return for their receipt and their county issued bag full of trash. The refund is only issued on that same day, if the bag is full and returned before 7 p.m.

These programs have received mixed reviews on their effectiveness. Students question the practicality of assigning one bag to be filled and kept in their car throughout break for a later return. Counties nonetheless feel it’s worthwhile enough to bring it back.

Ultimately, these programs wouldn’t be necessary if spring breakers had a higher regard for our environment and their own reputation. Luckily for UTSA, we aren’t branded with the reckless party school label, like our neighbor Texas State. We are confident UTSA will maintain a strong reputation this spring break. We party, but we’re not the slobs who can’t hold their own.

 

Read the full study here: http://www.projectknow.com/discover/springbreak-intoxicated-2/

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