On the other side, junior Krystin Baker, a non-smoker, hates everything about smoking. She says, “It takes over people’s lives and hurts others due to secondhand smoke.”
Penn State’s policy states there is no smoking inside the campus facilities. All students and faculty with this habit are forced outside in order to smoke. For those who don’t smoke, this doesn’t seem like much of a problem.
For those who do, this has become a burden for two reasons, smokers must brave the elements and face discrimination from those who do not have the habit.
Thomas Butchko, the director of business services at PSU HN said there were several designated areas for smokers, although they are not “formal.” Butchko said there are 40 different smoking receptacles or cigarette urns around campus for smokers.
These locations include, most significantly, one at the basement and front entry of the Physical Education building, one at the steps in front of Butler, four in front of Graham, two in the front and back of Kostos, two in front of the library, one at the ramp entry of the High Acres Café, one in front of South Hall, one in front of North Hall, and 10 behind West Hall.
Smokers are forced to smoke at the front or back entrances of every building on campus.
Smokers want to smoke and non-smokers have to use an en- trance to get to class and walk into the smoking zone.
Cronin says whenever he attempts to light up, he smokes near doorways, but then is told to move away 30 feet by other students.
Baker elaborated on this problem adding, “there is nowhere for them to go. They huddle at ash trays by the doorways and the smoke is blown into the face of every student that walks by. It’s disgusting.”
For both Cronin and Baker, it’s a lose-lose situation.
Butchko insisted, “It’s a balancing-act. Students and faculty who smoke must be responsible and respect the rules of Penn State’s smoking policy.”
At the same time, there is an enforcement issue for smokers who dwell under the roof between the bookstore and Butler who are violating the rules.
There is a large, red sign on the back wall that says no smoking allowed. Yet, smokers continue to violate the rule having no other place to go on a rainy or snowy day.
In commenting on the bad weather issue, Butchko said, “It is no different than any other student. Everyone has to brave it.”
Butchko was willing to hear out any possible solutions that students or faculty have on the issue. Right now, most complaints have come from students at the residence halls, in particular, South Hall. He, along with others, is investigating how the university can resolve the problem possibly a smoking shelter away from South Hall’s doors.
As a campus wide solution, Butchko said Altoona and Harrisburg campuses have enclosed smoking rooms.
“The problem is, such rooms cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000. Not only that, there is a problem of location. Where would we put these? The PSU HN campus is small enough as it is and has put in large amounts of money for campus beautification which might only be tarnished by these smoking rooms,” Butchko added.
According to senior Natalie Kalecha, the campus could run that risk regardless. She thinks a major issue with smoking on campus is that people throw their cigarette butts anywhere and makes the cam- pus look dirty.
With more areas for smokers, campus authorities could better affirm that smokers dispose of their cigarettes properly through monitoring of one or two locations versus the entire campus as they do now.
Another solution Butchko mentioned was the route Penn State York took.
“They are a smoke-free campus, which was formally approved by their SGA. This would be the most cost-effective option, but would we really want smokers traveling all the way to a parking lot just to have a smoke? “
PSU HN’s reference librarian, Shannon Richie doesn’t agree.
“I think it is reasonable for people to have an area for smoking, but I am not in support of a complete ban. There needs to be an area that is mutually agreeable for both parties – like a place for smokers to congregate.”
Richie added, “This is certainly an issue worthy of discussion.”
Other opinions came from Cronin and Baker. Cronin believes an easier solution would be for stu- dents and faculty to follow the rules already set and allow for smokers to be able to actually smoke by the ash trays where they are placed.
Baker feels there shouldn’t be so many ash trays on campus. Instead, there should be a shelter for smokers to use.
Baker said this isn’t just a residence hall issue, but a campus wide issue. The rules on smoking need to be enforced more, in her opinion.
Smoking is a serious issue on campus that needs to be addressed. Butchko said he is willing to hear suggestions from anyone. He may be reached at (570) 450-3156 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Penn State Hazleton’s SGA can help as well. Students with an issue about smoking should talk to a senator about any concerns or voice them at one of their Tuesday meetings noon in the Butler seminar room.