The Daily Illini

Dispose of gum properly, don’t leave it behind

By Lucas Oswald, Columnist

It’s happened to all of us at one point or another: that immediate feeling of disgust you get after squishing a stray digit into the sticky remains of chewed gum stuck underneath a desk or a seat in a lecture hall. We’ve all felt that instinct to burn everything you’ve touched and will touch until you can bathe your fingers in Purell, or run to the bathroom to scrub the stranger’s spit off of your hands.

Some of us have even lived through the horror of leaving class with tiny stowaways clinging to our clothes or bags, courtesy of some lazy student who couldn’t walk 10 feet to the nearest trash can.

Come on, people. Even a kindergartner knows where to put garbage.

We should respect our lecture halls and classrooms and keep them clean. As the users of these facilities, it only benefits us to do so. No one wants to sit in gum, and yet people still stick it to chairs and desks all over campus. I now speak directly to the culprits: If you use them too, why would you do this?

Not only is it a completely repulsive habit to stick gum on furniture, it’s also downright unsanitary. Who knows what kinds of diseases one might contract from a saliva-soaked wad of goo fresh out of the mouth of some random student?

Think of how often some new bug spreads around the University. The chewed up half-food you just grazed under the desk could have been, not even ten minutes ago, sitting on the tongue of patient zero for this month’s virus.

Our clothing also falls victim to the chewing gum momentos left behind by the students before us. For those unlucky enough to sit directly in gum, there is little that can be done to save those beloved pants from the sticky situation.

Separating denim and chewed gum is no easy feat, and can take several hours of careful scrubbing and peeling. Save a classmate from this ugly fate, and the embarrassment of walking to their next class toting around an uninvited germ ball by simply discarding your gum like an adult.

These threats to clothing and health can easily be neutralized by just waiting the 20 minutes until lecture ends, walking to a waste receptacle, and plopping your gum right in there. It’s that simple of a fix. If everyone did this, chewing gum mishaps would cease to be a problem. Let’s leave the gum-sticking in high school with the awkward phases and chaperoned school dances.

So next time you’re finished with that stick of Hubba Bubba, throw it in the trash can and be done with it. Trust me when I tell you the gum won’t feel bad about not getting a chance to live on the underside of a chair in Foellinger.

Lucas is a junior in LAS

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