Smoking it up or Smoking it Down?

-Marissa Bramble

(Defiance, OH) Our cross country trail is very beautiful and if you have not gotten the chance to walk it, or run it if you are feeling ambitious, it would be the perfect way to spend a fall afternoon.

Being students at Defiance College, all who attend here get the luxury of having a beautiful campus, nice gyms and our beautiful trails, however, behind all this beauty lies secrets that few know and many are oblivious too.

Defiance College is a great college, but just because it is great does not mean that we don’t have problems. There is a portion of students here that smoke, athletes and nonathletes, whether the school wants to acknowledge it or not. Which the school has taken steps to try to alleviate the tobacco problem on campus by not allowing students to smoke or use tobacco products on campus or in the dorms.

Now what many students here may or may not know is that the cross country trail is one of the best places to smoke, if you aren’t at a party or someone else’s house. The entrance to the trail is right behind the dorms and with the many twists and turns it is easy to go out during the day, or night, and not encounter other people or be watched on the cameras. Back on those trails students have a ton of freedom and privacy.

When I had asked some of my peers who partake in this why they choose the trail to smoke on, they answered with the fact that it’s close by and no one ever walks the trails so they know they can peacefully walk them and that the trail is a beautiful place to walk during the day and at night.

Curious as to what they meant, I decided to go for a walk with one of them on the trail and it’s true. There are no cameras that point to the trail, no one walks them at night and they didn’t have to walk very far onto the trail to not be seen yet be surround by nature’s beauty.

I can understand why my peers would feel the need to smoke in the woods. It’s far more peaceful than the parking lots, which is the only place you are allowed to smoke on campus. It allows them to not be judged for their habit and to not be confined to a typically loud high traffic area of students.

However, having students smoking in the woods can bring up some concerns for the woods itself, especially with fall in full swing. Because this area is not monitored how can we guarantee that our beautiful cross country trail stays beautiful? There is nowhere for students to put their cigarette butts out on the trail. A forest fire could very easily be started and no one would know until it got out of hand. If the possible forest fire doesn’t destroy the beauty of the cross country track cigarette butts and other garbage scattered around very well could.

Does this meant that they we should have the trail monitored more to try to prevent this from happening on campus grounds? That is a hard decision to make. If we have the trail monitored then that will cost the school more money because they will either have to set up cameras along the trail, and pay someone to sit and watch them, or they will have to pay someone to walk the trail. Both are not an ideal solution.

Or should the school just turn a blind eye because at least the students aren’t doing it in the resident halls? Is this really a problem or are others making it into a problem? And finally, is there more going on back there than what meets the eye? So many questions and not nearly enough answers. Until next time, smoke safely!

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