Petitioners: So Good At Their Job, It’s Scary

Like a scene from a classic horror movie, the Graham Center has recently been populated with petitioners on the lookout for prey. Locking eyes with one may not get you turned to stone, but it may force you to sign a petition and probably relinquish personal information along the way. Cue the ominous music.

To clarify, in no way are the petitioners restricted from their on-campus activism, nor do we impugn their motives. If anything, they are doing the student body a service by informing us on issues and encouraging our generation to get engaged. Not all of them pester students, either; many either walk away or say thank you before moving on to their next victim.

However, we heard many a horror story about students badgered by well-meaning people trying to get them to sign one of the four petitions in their clipboard Duel Disk.

Tactics such as guilt tripping. For example: saying things like “I need to get paid” or “I’ve been standing outside all day.” Other times,the petitioners resort to more advanced maneuvers like following students to their classrooms or cars. After a while, they wear down the resistance of students.

Not wanting to sign isn’t always personal. Some students dislike giving away their private information, others have previous engagements like class or work and a few may disagree with the cause without wanting to come off as impolite or indifferent.

Not only does their tenacity make us feel uncomfortable, but we feel obligated to formally support an issue we have little to no knowledge of. Students have a right to say no to and walk away from people shoving a paper in their face, no matter how important that paper may be to someone else. 

So the next time you’re walking out of GC, gritting your teeth in anticipation of the flurry of pen and paper, follow these emergency escape tips:

  • Spread the Gospel. If you’re up on your Bible knowledge, ask them if they know about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God will appreciate your dedication to the Great Commission.
  • Pretend you’re an international student! Speak to them in another language. Spanish may not work though.
  • Cut down the trees that give them shade. The University just planted a bunch of new ones, so it shouldn’t matter.
  • Run. Just run. Look straight ahead and book it toward the entrance. You’ll get some stares, but it’s less awkward than declining the petition anyways.

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