San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

BEFORE: This photo of trash at a practice field near Bobcat Stadium was taken Saturday evening while the game was still underway. PHOTO via FACEBOOK

AFTER: This photo, taken this morning, shows a trash removed and the field restored to normal. PHOTO via FACEBOOK


Updated 11:58 a.m. Monday:

A Texas State official responsible for postgame trash pickup said the size of crowds caused the clean up process to take about 24 hours longer than he had planned.

A San Antonio-based company hired to remove refuse from the stadium and the surrounding parking lots expected to be finished by Sunday morning. But the volume of trash caused the cleanup to stretch into this morning, said associate athletics director Don Coryell.

“Because there was so much to do inside the stadium and the blocks around the stadium, it took us about a day longer than I had hoped,” Coryell said.

He said the slower-than-expected trash cleanup will be re-evaluated for future games to make sure the process goes more smoothly.

“There were three Dumpsters out there that weren’t full so we do need to do a better job our educating our fans about picking up their trash,” Coryell said.

He said about 25 people worked continuously throughout the weekend to clean up trash, including emptying receptacles at a designated tailgating area behind the Jowers Center. Each company or group who rented a tailgating spot were given trash can liners, he said.

Also this morning, Ken Bell, the city’s emergency coordinator, called a Thursday morning meeting of city and university officials to review public safety procedures and prepare for future games.

“It is important to get this complete soon after so we are fresh with information. In this particular AAR we are gong to not only review the game related events, but the next steps for future large and small games. We are breaking this down to what happens inside the stadium and the attached parking lots and everything outside the bubble — tailgate, Charles Austin and such,” Bell wrote in an email organizing the “After Action Review.”

Earlier Monday:

A photo of a trashed practice field near Bobcat Stadium has sparked a heated Facebook debate this morning in the aftermath of Texas State’s first home game as a member of the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Thousands of football fans spent Saturday afternoon partying in designated tailgating area behind Jowers Center off Charles Austin Drive and in a West Campus parking lot off Speck Street. Other unsanctioned tailgate parties sprung up across town.

Longtime San Marcos resident Diane Munk Wood posted a photo taken Saturday evening of drifts of refuse strewn across the Jowers tailgating area.

Wood attached a note that read, “This is what Texas State tailgating did to San Marcos on Saturday. I love this town. I do not love what the college has done to it” and tagged Mayor Daniel Guerrero’s Facebook page.

Within minutes, Guerrero’s page was flooded with comments. Some were appalled by the photo. Others noted that the tailgating areas were spic and span by at least Sunday, within 24 hours after the big game. Guerrero himself waded into the comments and posted a photo of a cleaned up Jowers practice field taken this morning.

Guerrero told the Mercury this morning that the photo was taken by a city staff member at about 8 p.m. Saturday, while the game was less than halfway over. He said it was intended as a “before” photo to show and that the university’s major cleanup operation was underway shortly thereafter.

“With so many people in one place, it’s going to take a little bit of time to get things cleaned up. That particular photo was a moment in time and there were already folks preparing to clean it up when the photo was taken,” Guerrero said.

He said Texas State was responsible for clean up of all property within its boundaries and the city likewise responsible for its own property, including the City Hall, library and activity center parking lots near the stadium. The mayor said he heard from people as early as Sunday morning who were pleased that cleanup of city property had already been completed.

The university’s facilities department told the Mercury this morning that post-game cleanup was handled by a private contractor hired by the athletics department.

The Mercury left a message with associate athletics director Don Coryell and will update this story when we hear from him.

Highlights from the discussion

Jaime Escamillo:

You have to look at it from a positive side Diane. Although it’s trashy, its job security for the cleaning crew who needs to feed their family this week. Trust me: I know it looks bad, I say the same thing here in Party Town S.A. Especially around Fiesta. But after hearing Clean up crews talking about no trash no cash. My thought totally changed. Just tell yourself “someone’s mommy/daddy” is going to get a nice paycheck. You know it don’t stay this way for long. Have a Great Day!

Janis Thormahlen Salmon:

“Telling these kids that it’s fine to disgrace the town by leaving their &%$# everywhere so someone can have a job for a couple of days — not! Wanting the nation to see our city in this manner will leave an impression for a lifetime. .. How hard is it to hang a trash bag and put your trash in there? It’s just saying they haven’t been taught right.”

Daniel Guerrero:

“The city nor the university can determine people’s behavior we can only prepare to respond to their actions and try to set boundaries and rules to monitor them reaction. Neither of us can immediately control another persons behavior nor should we dump on the entire university student body when many were doing their part to clean up, recycle and keep the entire campus beautiful. You’re looking at a small photo of a larger picture that included a very successful weekend from a safety perspective where we had one major arrest in a small area that was filled with 10,000 people.”

Mackenzie Shriner:

“The university is not going anywhere for all of you who like to sit and complain that it is ruining San Marcos. I realize that students need to not assume someone else will clean up after them like mommy and daddy did while they were growing up. However, it does nothing to bash the university, complain about what it does to the city, and to blame the students for everything. Why not think of a solution instead? We have person after person complaining about the problem, but none fo you want to step up and create a solution.”

Bill Adams:

“Sometimes it does seem people are looking for a chance to blame the University and students. I have seen other venues with primarily adults attending leave just as much trash. There was a plan in place to clean areas such as this up and it was executed efficiently. None of us like to see this much trash, but there was a great deal of enthusiasm and people on hand to prepare for the game four to six hours beforehand. I think the more important aspect of this game is the respect I saw between Texas State and the Texas Tech fans.”

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29 thoughts on “Updated: Tailgating trash sparks postgame analysis

  1. We tailgate every home game, every year, and we always manage to bring enough trash bags for all of our garbage. Yes, the city and university can probably come up with a plan, to get things cleaned up faster, but do they really need to? I bet very few tailgate groups ran out of beer or ice and sat around wondering when TXST would provide more.

    If everyone bagged their trash, tied it up and just left it, the cleanup would be over almost before it began. If they took two minutes to carry their bags to the dumpsters that weren’t even full, all the better.

  2. We also have anywhere from 10-20 students at every tailgate, and not one of them has ever thrown their garbage on the ground. We put out trash bags, and they use them.

  3. I have two words for anyone trying to claim that tailgating trash is some sort of huge problem for San Marcos and/or who wants to blame the student population here for trash problems:

    Rio Vista

  4. Frankly, I am not sure why the folks at Rio Vista can’t bag their own trash, either. I doubt they’re over there running out of beer and charcoal, thinking “damn, why doesn’t Ken Bell have people bringing people supplies?”

  5. I picked up trash for two hours in the parking lot next to Sewell Park. I then went to look for whoever was in charge. I found him working by himself. He said there were two more workers on the way. It was late in the morning by then .He hired me for two more hours.I always start out my Sunday mornings picking up trash in the park-lots of cigarrette butts.This time I wound up picking up trash for 4 more hours.I did this because nobody else was. I mean nobody.The stuff was blowing everywhere and had plenty of time to travel off Texas State property. I tackled the culverts before work this morning before work.
    The workers yesterday quit before it was done. I do understand that they worked ’till 5am Sunday.They were understaffed. Plain and simple.It took an extra day because there weren’t enough workers and they couldn’t/wouldn’t keep up.I have pictures of all times of the day.We should not have had to live w/ a landfill(rotting food, bottles of urine spilled,used oil among other things).Texas State should have provided more trash cans,bins and dumpsters. And empty them constantly to keep up.I saw 3 people and myself-not 25.And I was everywhere-with my camera.
    It was an unusually big game and plans for clean-up were the same as for any other game.Big mistake. Yeah, it looks good now. A day later. This could have been prevented.Litter upsets me-as it should everyone.I spent my one day off cleaning up after Texas State’s irresponsible blunder.Thanks a lot. Next time you throw an event and make a ton of money think of the town you’ve invaded to do it in.Outragous.

  6. The University provided a venue for and promoted an attitude of disregard among its students. They can clean up behind them this time, but where will they be when that same attitude is exhibited to the town elsewhere? It seems like the beginning is the time to shift the culture from one that thinks it okay to lose by 50 as long as the party was good.

  7. First of all, Ted’s correction on the extent of Saturday’s blowout wins the Most Hilarious Post award for Sept. 10. Unfortunately, Ted, the award is honorary and there is no cash prize.

    Secondly, the photos of the trash left by this game left me dumbstruck. There is just so much of it. Kudos to the crews for getting it cleaned up so completely, so quickly. Hopefully they also were able to snag all the trash that undoubtedly blew around town in those brisk winds we had.’

    Lastly, Dano’s point about Rio Vista must be noted. Visit that park on a Saturday or Sunday morning before the cleaning crews show up at 9 or so, and you will see similar levels of trashing on a smaller, yet sadder, scale. Food wrappers, juice pouches, cans and bottles, clothing….even dirty diapers. It’s astounding what people will just let drop where they stand. And I have to ask, “Where’s the pleasure of being at a park while you’re surrounded by garbage, even if it’s yours?”

    People just don’t know how to behave.

  8. You’re comparing Rio Vista to Cabrini Green? Really? I know Rio Vista is bad on a good day, but really?

  9. How is it that someone being irresponsible the city or university’s fault? Granted, it sounds like neither body planned for enough trash pick up, but ultimately it was irresponsible (and quite possibly intoxicated) fans not picking up after themselves. I hope that more trash/recycling receptacles are provided for the next home game, but let’s not completely blame just one or two entities, everyone shares a little bit of blame.

  10. None of you have ever driven downtown on a Th Fri Sat or Sun before the guys with the little vaccum trucks get out there. It looks pretty bad. It is all gone when you wake up.

  11. You can go on the University web sit and rent one of the sites that all the trash was on. If you look at the people that were there you might be surprised that most of them were businesses and not just students. So you might rethink bashing the kids and just say every one was enjoying this first game a little to much. I don’t think we have to worry about this big of a tailgate again.

  12. I also meant to say that the University puts the names of each spot on the web site as well so you can see which businesses were there.

  13. Yep. I tailgated for a while before the game and the ratio of student to non student (at least where I was) was *at best* 1/1. So if things got a little messy, don’t just blame the students.

    If you feel that blame must be assigned, Blame the alumni, the Tech fans, and yes, even blame the throng of locals who showed up for the party.

    Personally, I don’t get what all the whining is about anyway, other than people with a general prejudice against the University. The mess was gone the next day and I’ve seen town just as messy after Riverfest or Sights & Sounds events no one complains about.

  14. The above photos skip a whole day.When I left the park Sunday evening the workers had quit and the place was still trashed.Granted, it was much better than Sunday morning.The day was half over before anyone other than can gatherers were there.

  15. I have not forgotten the tragic nightmare that the fireworks cause for the birds that call Springlake their home. And to think, an instution of HIGHER LEARNING like TSU-SM promotes, and is also part of the state system that owns and operates the very same area. Ignore me now, pay me later, promise 😉 See ya in the pictures….JLB

  16. Just did a find for “students” and only found ONE comment that seemed to be blaming them for anything.

    Sooooo, let’s get off that BS soapbox. It’s just a convenient straw man, for people who want to dismiss a group out of hand.

    The university could do better, but there is no excuse for any tailgaters to be throwing trash on the ground. Pack it in, pack it out. Period. If there are trash cans and bags provided, lucky you, someone just made it easier for you to do what you ought to be doing anyway.

    The same goes for Rio Vista.

  17. Ted,I fear you’re preaching to the choir on this site. Maybe someone can come up with a good marketing plan for creating a public service campaign to encourage folks to keep their parks clean. I don’t hear any message to that effect being communicated to the park users (on the rare occasion I go to Rio Vista).

  18. I have to respond to anyone who thinks this is a locals issue.It isn’t.It’s about accountability.My family moved here because of the river and the university.Five of us attended Southwest Texas. Higher education is important.We all know that.They should have taken steps to prevent this -and they could have. They knew these people were coming.The reality is that that many people need more port-a-potties AND more trash receptacles.Plus the constant emptying of them. They dropped the ball.

  19. As for Rio Vista,I stop and pick up there on Sunday Mornings, too.Some people were not raised right.The park rangers should go after them . Or be given a way to.It’s more of a problem than the alcohol consumption. But that’s another can of worms.Once again-accountability.I’ve actually started a business w/ the tubes I pick up. But I could never enjoy the park sitting amonst debris. So I get up and pick it up. But then, I was raised right.

  20. Joan. Thank you for your work cleaning up. I have done it but I become self-conscious. I have imagined back-pack style vacuum cleaners to quickly get at cig butts, sunflower seed husks, etc. There is more that could be done by way of terracing the bank that would diminish erosion and promote grass. Lots of opportunity to improve Rio Vista and for not that much money. More trash cans, aluminum only receptacles, paths leading to covered picnic areas away from the river, etc.

  21. Dano, no way this last event was the same as any other.I ‘ve been here since ’73 and the parks are my regular Sunday thing.I’ve never seen anything like like this. I worked construction for 7 years. I saw landfills and was horrified. Sunday I was reminded of that.We are not whining.Littering is against the law and offensive. I found bottles of urine, a whole pot of oil spilled and a lot of rotting food. Plus, there is syill a lot of litter because by the time the bulk got picked up, much had blown into other territory. Still there.Had I not gotten to the Sewell Park parking lot when I did a lot would have blown into the river.It was the biggest event we’ve ever had and it was a breezy weekend.It was very preventable

  22. Rio Vista trash fact: The more drunk people get, the worst the trash gets!Park Rangers & City crews do their best to hand out trash bags through out the day. The city crews & Easter Seals make multiple trash runs ALL DAY. Tickets are written & warnings are given all day. Park Rangers & Police can’t take everyone by the hand & walk them to the trash cans! Really hoping the new alcohol ordinance will help with the mess. As for the tailgate trash, I’m sure the University will be better prepared next time.

  23. Instead of hiring a private company make it a community focused event. The University of Oregon hires service clubs to clean their football stadium, run all concessions and clean the parking lots. Creates community support instead of a negative.

  24. The game was still going on, so that tailgate may have still had people there. I don’t remember seeing any Greek letters when I walked through, after the game.

    If I were a member of that fraternity, particularly at the organization level, I wouldn’t be thrilled about seeing my letters in a sea of garbage.

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