Ashes to ashes: negligence of Maura “smokers” porch

For the past four years, I have often wondered why the university allows the front porch on the second floor of Maura Hall to remain somewhat unkempt. This porch is commonly referred to as the “smoker’s porch” because it is the main gathering place for smoker’s on campus when they are between classes or taking a break from homework.

The furniture, despite the recent paint job, is old, dirty, and broken down. In fact, when meeting on the porch for class this week, my professor almost fell from attempting to sit on a chair that was, in fact, broken. The ashtrays are overflowing, and the ground of the porch is covered in cigarette butts.

By Stormy Knight,

Editor-in-Chief

For the past four years, I have often wondered why the university allows the front porch on the second floor of Maura Hall to remain somewhat unkempt. This porch is commonly referred to as the “smoker’s porch” because it is the main gathering place for smoker’s on campus when they are between classes or taking a break from homework.

The furniture, despite the recent paint job, is old, dirty, and broken down. In fact, when meeting on the porch for class this week, my professor almost fell from attempting to sit on a chair that was, in fact, broken. The ashtrays are overflowing, and the ground of the porch is covered in cigarette butts.

It was not until the beginning of this semester, when I leaned over the banister of the porch and became horrified at the scads of butts covering the landscape, that I realized why the university does not consider the condition of the porch a top priority. If the students who frequent the porch cannot clean up after themselves, and be conscious and respectful of the impact they have on condition of their environment, then why should the university put money out for new furniture?

One day this semester, I visited the porch and was disturbed to find chalk drawings and messages covering the brick wall of Maura Hall’s exterior. I heard one argument made that it was only chalk, easily washed away. This is true, but until very recently, some of the chalk scribbles remained on the brick – why should the custodial staff take time away from their daily duties to scrub away remnants of an immature and pointless act?

On April Fools Day, my good friend and fellow student, Megan Zubalik, sat in fecal matter that somebody had, somehow, placed on a chair occupying the porch. The fact that she had to experience this in a setting where, sans the pre-school students, everybody is an adult, is despicable. My heart ached for her dignity.

Somebody certainly made a fool out of her on a day where light-hearted pranks are common practice. This act, far from light-hearted, put the health of students potentially at risk.

Do I really need to provide an explanation for why starting small fires in the ashtray that sits on the coffee table is wrong? I didn’t think so.

Another qualm I have regarding the porch, is the fact that people leave the doors gaping open, allowing cold air and the stench of cigarette smoke to waft into the building. Granted, the doors do not shut properly, but the majority of those who frequent the porch know this, and should have the common courtesy to ensure the door is latched and will not fly open from the excessive wind on the hill. I have personally shut the door when passing by on several occasions, only to see a group of students on the porch who decided to ignore it and let somebody else take the liberty of shutting it.

I am not saying that the people who congregate on this porch are bad people, nor am I saying that the university should have fingers pointed at them for not ensuring that the condition of the porch is as aesthetically pleasing as the rest of campus. The maintenance and custodial staff do a phenomenal job of keeping campus pristine, and the students should do their part as well.

I am a smoker, and I will admit I’ve been guilty of tossing a butt over the railing or stomping it out on the ground, but after what I have seen this semester I have made a conscious effort to change my practices surrounding my nasty habit. Perhaps the university could place one or two more ashtrays to deter students from tossing buts where they do not belong, but the efforts of the smokers to clean up after themselves needs improvement before upgrades to the porch should be considered.

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