The Tomato

Photo: Marta Kierkus

With warmer temperatures comes melting snow, and University of Ottawa students fear that formerly hidden dog poop may start stinking up their campus and blighting the bottom of their shoes.

In an interview with the Tomato, third-year biology student Ashley Markham recounted her experience with this problem.

“I was walking over by Morisset Library when I stepped in some mud—at least I thought it was mud. But when I got to class my friends told me I stank and I realized I had three-month-old dog poop on my shoe,” said Markham.

“I was like, ‘Oh hell no, those were my favourite shoes,’” she said. “That’s when I knew something had to be done.”

After Markham shared her story on social media, she inspired other U of O students to speak out about their similar experiences.

“The other day I stepped in a pile of ‘mud’ over by SITE, and unknowingly ended up tracking dog poop through three different buildings,” said mechanical engineering student Max Douglas.

“My psych prof reeked when he came into class last week. It took me a few minutes to realize that the stench was coming from the dog shit on his boots,” added first-year student Alyssa Campbell.

“Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy that the weather’s getting warmer, but I can’t have the smell distracting me in class,” Campbell added.

Because of this outpouring of support and solidarity, Markham was inspired to start an online petition that aims to increase springtime dog poop clean-up services on campus.

The petition had garnered more than 200 signatures as of this publication, and Markham has become the unofficial ringleader of the “This Stinks!” movement.

The Canadian Federation for Cleaner Campuses (CFCC) released a statement in response to the students’ uproar.

“We understand where the students are coming from, being that it is almost impossible to differentiate dog poop from regular mud,” said a spokesperson for the CFCC. “We are working with the university’s student leadership to come up with a solution as quickly as possible.”

Concern over rogue canine excrement has even begun to eclipse students’ stress over upcoming exams. Sociology professor Mark Bowen worries about the effect it will have on their grades.

“Exam performance directly correlates to the amount of studying that a student does. If students are putting all their energy into worrying about hidden dog poop on campus, they won’t take the time to study.”

Regardless of these concerns over academic performance, Markham is encouraging her fellow students to get involved in the “This Stinks!” movement by following @ThisStinksuOttawa on Twitter and liking the page on Facebook.

“Let’s make sure the university knows we won’t put up with this crap!”