Despite non-smoking signs located on the office windows of the building’s first floor, students have continued to use cigarettes and other smoking materials outside Boston University’s Questrom School of Business. These transgressions have brought about growing complaints from faculty and students.
To address the inconvenience, two first-floor offices at Questrom have hung additional signs reminding students that the sidewalk in front of the building is a non-smoking area.
“What we typically see are students throughout the day who will congregate right by the door or right by the bicycle racks and smoke their desired, whatever it is,” Danielle Desjardins, director of Academic Advising and Student Services at Questrom, said. “We’ve had some students who will roll their own cigarettes on the window sill.”
Armaan Joshi, a sophomore in the College of General Studies, said students should be more considerate when they smoke outside the building.
“There are many other places besides school or academic buildings where you can continue these activities,” Joshi said. “I just feel like that’s just not the appropriate place to do it.”
Concerns about smokers in front of school buildings go beyond daily inconvenience, he commented on the larger implications it has on school image.
“During the tour guides and stuff, [parents] look at these things,” Joshi said. “I can tell you for a fact that if my parents would be there to see something like that, they wouldn’t [like it.]”
On the other hand, students like Luke Mackenzie, a junior at Questrom who uses e-cigarettes, said he does not have issues with cigarette use outside Questrom.
“Even if I didn’t smoke, I feel like people should be allowed to mind their own business and do their own thing,” Mackenzie said. “I get they’re on school property and they’re like outside of Questrom, but it’s still outside.”
Though smoking can be seen throughout BU’s campus, students think Questrom seems to be the building with the highest concentration of it.
“I think a big part of it, may be the international body we have at Questrom,” Jai Malik, a sophomore at CGS, said. “Like [smoking is] more common in their culture so they don’t really see the negative of it, and maybe we’re more against it than other cultures and societies.”
Students in other colleges may be responsible for the inconvenience as well, with the Questrom building serving students across majors.
“A lot of [students] classes are in Questrom,” Joshi said. “I’ve had CGS parts in Questrom before so I feel like there could be a chance that 80% of those students are not even in Questrom.”
Mackenzie agreed it is not just a Questrom issue and said it is an issue all across the BU campus.
“There are frequently students outside of the building smoking and they make other smokers feel more comfortable or encouraged to smoke in front of there,” Mackenzie said. “But I don’t think it’s a Questrom-wide problem, I see people smoking vapes anywhere, whether it’s GSU, in front of CGS building or even [at the School of] Hospitality.”
As smoking continues to happen on BU’s Campus, some administrators have begun to come up with solutions to the rise in smoking around school buildings.
“I think that regardless of our own personal beliefs, we have to understand that if a student chooses to smoke, that’s the student’s choice to do,” Desjardins said. “I would recommend and I don’t know if this is even appropriate, but I’ve seen other institutions or other businesses where they will have maybe a designated place with a table, ashtray or something.”
The faculty members at Questrom will have to continue to assess the situation in order to find solutions, and Desjardins suggested increased self-awareness from students.
“Maybe doing their recreational activities or picking their nose or doing other weird things outside of the window, might not be the best place to do that,” Desjardins said. “[They need to remember] that these are windows, and there are people on the other side of the windows that are working and conducting professional meetings and interviews.”