Almost everyone who has been to the San Francisco State University main campus has encountered at least one person asking people to sign a petition. The petitioners strategically place themselves around the campus. They’re by the Administration Building catching students, faculty and staff as they walk to and from the direction of 19th Street. They’re in the Quad catching students as they walk around campus. They’re out front the main entrance of the library. They’re in between the Creative Arts Building and the Fine Arts Building. They’re at the tables outside of Cafe Rosso. They’re everywhere.
All the while, many students, faculty and staff members try to do everything within their means to avoid them. They put in headphones and pretend to not see or hear the petitioners. They sneak by the petitioner as he or she talks to another student, faculty, staff member or visitor.
I admit to going through great lengths to avoid such people during my every day walk from the 19th Street SFSU shuttle stop to the Humanities building. I have taken the long way and walked down Holloway Avenue. I have walked through the J. Paul Leonard Library to avoid them in the Quad. I have pretended to be on the phone on multiple occasions. I have held conversations with friends, often repeating parts of the conversation, in order to avoid them.
However, after asking one petitioner who wished to remain unnamed about his work on campus, I began to feel bad regarding my treatment of them. He stated that many people walk by him without even acknowledging him as he tries to speak to them. In talking to him, he stated that he felt devalued, almost like he wasn’t even human, in how people sometimes treat him.
They may be considered annoying to many, but just tell them no and walk away. Some petitioners may be a bit more persistent, but just remember they’re just there to do their job.