By Erin Cotter – Collegian Staff
Finding ways to socialize with other people can be daunting to many students at GPC.
Although many feel that we should be a smoke free campus, the smoking hut on the Dunwoody campus plays a vital role in the college community. It provides a place for students to mingle and get to know each other in a relaxed environment. For many students meeting friends while lighting a cigarette is an easy way to initially get to know someone on campus.Almost any day of the week a passerby can spot at least seven or eight students (usually many more) huddled together, by the smoking hut, talking, laughing and many times debating different issues.
“The smoking hut is a place for students to get to know each other, basically talk, find common interests- because every body already shares at least one common inter-est,” said Carl Jenkins, a Health Science major at Dunwoody cam-pus.
It may seem that students at the smoking hut have little in common, however, the smoking hut gathers students of all races, ages, and genders together by simply having a common habit and students soon find out that other students share similar activities and hobbies. At the smoking hut students range in interests from art, history, computer science, education, health science, almost anything. In comparison to other areas on campus, like the atrium in the D- Building, where mainly nursing and dental hygiene students gather to study, the smoking area at GPC is open to anyone- even to those that do not smoke.
Not all of the students at the smoking hut are highly addicted to cigarettes, some are simply social smokers. According to the U.S. National Library of Health and the National Institute of Health, “So-cial smoking is a distinct pattern of tobacco use that is common among college students….” A smoking hut serves a variety of purposes to the campus community and these should be recognized by the administration.
Stress relief is one of the main benefits the smoking hut provides. As one student said anonymously, “I came out here for a smoke because I was about to freak out in class.”
The smoking hut is a place where people feel a sense of community, on a campus where there are few other all-inclusive gathering places. “It’s easier at the smoking hut to start talking to other people, instead of just randomly going up to someone at a bench [who] is away from the smoking hut … for example, if [they are] a girl and you sit down and start talking, [the girl] might just think ‘oh he’s just trying to hit on me,’ however at the smoking hut [you can start] to talk to anyone, because of a known shared interest,” Jenkins said.