This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.


Published: April 7, 2005

Stop littering UB campuses with "ciggy butts"

To the Editor:

It happens every spring as I traverse the hallowed halls of academia. I find my mind burdened by some of the "deep, unanswered questions" of our universe: Which way is west in space? Is there sex in Heaven? What is geographically weighted regression? What is the purpose of all the cigarette butts lying around outside the entrances to buildings?

Although all are worthy of consideration, I will limit the discussion to the question of cigarette butts due to the limited space constraints in this paper. What purpose do they serve littering the ground outside building entrances?

I approached some cancer cowboy last week and suggested he should put the butt in his pocket as opposed to flinging it on the ground. He looked at me as if I suggested he put dog droppings in his pocket. The thing was just in his mouth. I am still unclear what the purpose of flinging them on the ground is. I hypothesized that maybe smokers store them on the ground outside buildings to reuse them before proceeding to class. Maybe they taste better after soaking up some sun and street grime.

I am sure the practice is common outside all buildings on the UB campuses. I find it especially disturbing on the South Campus outside Crosby and Hayes halls, buildings that house the School of Architecture and Planning. Those in the program are concerned with urban form and design. As planners, we strive to make the communities we live in a better place, both economically and visually. As architects, we are concerned about the form and function of buildings. We go to great lengths to make them aesthetically pleasing.

It seems to me the first steps out into the "real world" begin on the steps outside the buildings that we call home for our brief tenure here. They should reflect our educated commitment to the living and built environment.

I am new to the "urban" setting. My "country folk" friends who partake in the habit of smoking stuff their smoking remnants into their pockets, as opposed to despoiling the landscape with them. This really seems puzzling because some of them are not very educated. Maybe they like the taste of them after they go through the washer and come out smelling like Tide's Mountain Fresh air.

Therefore, my call to action this spring is: "Cancer Cowboys of Campus Unite!" Show the community you truly are committed to the ethos of your discipline and stop littering the lawn and steps of our hallowed halls with little yellow and white "ciggy butts."


Mark M. McGovern

Department of Urban Planning

Editor's Note: Smoking is strictly prohibited in all university-owned and operated buildings, stadiums and outdoor events, and in all vehicles owned and operated by the university. Doorway areas and loading docks are considered part of the building.