Sticky situation makes university stop selling gum

William Schertz

Many of us have experienced it before. You are walking across campus, hurrying to your class, when suddenly — it happens. You stomp your shoe down on an enormous glob of moist, sticky chewed gum.

Try as you might to get it off by rubbing it in the grass or against the sidewalk, the mess on the bottom of your heel only gets worse. Finally, being the broke college student you are, you’re forced to use your precious laundry money to slowly scrape away the evil goo until it comes off or you run out of coins.

Dining Services quit selling gum on campus several years ago as a way to alleviate the gum littering on campus, a decision that has not gained much attention since then.

“It hasn’t really been an issue,” Andrea Spandonis, director of Dining Services said. “This is probably the second time I’ve talked about it.”

Though Dining Services has not heard many complaints, several students are still disappointed about the university’s gum policy.

“I feel insecure knowing that I can’t get gum on campus,” said Elizabeth Hunsberger, sophomore craft and fine arts major. “When I’m chewing gum, I have that extra boost of confidence knowing that I don’t have to question the freshness of my breath.”

John F. Walsh IV, manager of Campus Environment and Operations, said even though the university no longer sells gum, it is still a major concern.

“I really don’t think it has made much of a difference,” Walsh said. “We still get gum in the hallways; we still get it on carpet and we still get it on the sidewalks.”

Walsh estimated the university spends $500 to $800 annually just on specialty cleaners to remove gum from carpets. He also said the university recently spent $5,000 on a high-pressure cement cleaner to remove gum from sidewalks on campus.

Students have also noticed the problem with gum on campus, leading many of them to question if removing gum from campus stores has made a difference.

“Anywhere you look on the sidewalk you’re gonna see a piece of gum there,” said Andrew Hudson, freshman business administration major and Bubblicious chewer. “I think it’s kind of ridiculous, from a business perspective, knowing that people are gonna chew gum anyway. They might as well make a profit off of it.”

Sophomore fashion merchandising major Francie Pederson also said she thought the school would profit from bringing gum back.

“I see gum anyway. Obviously people still chew gum,” she said. “It just seems like they would make more money if they kept selling it.”

Hunsberger, who enjoys cinnamon and peppermint gum, said she felt that most students are responsible enough to throw away their gum, and those who are not will probably continue to litter anyway.

“I know I personally don’t go around sticking gum under desks,” she said.

Spandonis said the loss of gum from campus stores has not made much of an impact on sales, and there are no plans to bring gum back onto campus.

Contact buildings and grounds reporter William Schertz at [email protected].