Double Espressos in Mugar
New library policies: mugs in, smoking farther out
No need to sneak into Mugar behind another student, clandestine coffee mug in hand, or hide that soda can from the “red coats.”
But smokers, watch where you light up.
New University policies allowing visitors to bring covered drinks into Mugar Memorial Library and forcing smokers to stay away from the library entrance were unanimously passed by the Student Union late last month.
University officials worked closely with students in hammering out policy details and are pleased with the results. “Like many issues, it just takes the right student at the right time to raise it in the right manner,” says John Battaglino, executive director of student activities.
Anant Shukla (CAS’10), a Student Union senator (and avid coffee drinker), wrote the guidelines, collaborating with officials and ushering it through student government. This and the recent printing policy shift, Shukla says, prove that “the administration is listening to the students.”
The battle over banning drinks from Mugar is years old, pitting library officials seeking to protect the University’s multimillion-dollar investment in the building’s books, archival material, and equipment against students looking for a caffeine fix to help study for an exam or write a paper. Result: students got more and more creative sneaking in drinks.
The policy shift signals that BU is catching up with the times. “The culture that we see for most students is a laptop, a cup of coffee, and an iPod,” says University librarian Bob Hudson, who worked with Shukla.
While University officials prefer spill-proof, sustainable mugs, disposable paper cups will be allowed. “The whole University is talking sustainability,” Hudson says. “And we’re a big place.”
Although the University’s sustainability office, sustainability@bu, did not work on the new policies, it supports the push for mugs.
“Switching to a reusable coffee mug and using five less disposable cups a week will reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by 1.25 pounds per week,” says Susan Chaityn Lebovits, communications specialist at sustainability@bu.
Not all areas within the library will be open to drink-toters. The Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center is off limits, Hudson says.
Mugar security also will now be less tolerant of smokers standing in front of the doors or on the stairs. The new policy calls for the installation of No Smoking signs outside the entrance and the creation of a no-smoking perimeter to keep second-hand smoke at bay.
Battaglino says Mugar’s perimeter will be based on a city ordinance that requires smokers to stand 25 feet away from entryways. “We’ll try to do the right thing for both constituencies,” he says. “We want to make sure the smokers’ rights are respected as well.”
Shukla recommended that the Dean of Students Office fund a designated smoking area opposite Mugar. “I don’t want it to be seen as me disenfranchising smokers from a choice they have made,” he says.
Without committing to that idea, Battaglino says that University officials “are going to find the right solution.”
Hudson acknowledges that enforcing a no-smoking perimeter could present a special challenge, but says he’ll educate his all-student security staff on how best to deal with the new policy.
“I don’t want to be sending staff on steps and shooing people away,” he says.
Mark Belzowski (CAS’10), president of the student group BU Cigar Aficionado Society, calls sending security staff to patrol Mugar steps “a waste of resources.” Signs and perimeters, he says, usually encourage “a motley crew of smokers” to plant themselves nearby in protest.
“I don’t think it’s going to be effective,” Belzowski says. While conceding that “some smoke does travel into lobbies of buildings,” he thinks “it’s a fair price to pay” for forcing smokers outdoors.
Bring your own reusable, spill-proof mug to Mugar Memorial Library on Wednesday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and receive free coffee.9 Comments