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Letter to the Editor: Clemson made right decision in ending balloon release

On behalf of the Natural Resources Graduate Student Association at Clemson University, we would like to commend our institution for the recent decision to discontinue the mass release of balloons at Memorial Stadium upon the entrance of university football players, heretofore practiced at the start of every home football game since 1983.

While the launch of balloons from the stadium undoubtedly contributed to the spectacle and pageantry of our esteemed football program, it also had serious and certainly deleterious impacts on wildlife both locally and abroad. There exists an overwhelming body of reputable, scientific literature documenting the ways in which untethered balloons can strangle vulnerable animals, be ingested as mistaken prey items and infiltrate our most remote wildernesses as unwanted litter, to name but a few examples.

While the reduction in absolute quantity practiced last season was an excellent first step, even comparatively small numbers of balloons let loose into the environment pose an identifiable threat, and so the assessment to completely remove balloons from the player entrance routine we feel is both correct and appropriate.

We are confident that our unrivaled school spirit and support for our football program here at Clemson University and across the state will prevail despite the absence of a balloon launch, as we are all bound together as part of one Tiger family. This is but a small sacrifice compared to the relatively steep price paid by our cherished wildlife and scenic areas, and we welcome this important act of environmental conscious displayed by our university.

We are proud to stand with our collegiate brethren across the country who have also chosen to end this destructive practice, and are pleased to no longer have to temper our excitement at the marvel of a Memorial Stadium football game with the knowledge of impending environmental damage at the hands of thousands of latex balloons.

We thank the university for acting to correct this ecologically detrimental practice, and urge all Clemson fans to join us and our university in working towards a more sustainable and responsible future.


Bradley Wilkinson

President, Clemson NRGSA

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