The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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Solicitors use guilt trips

When I come to school every day I do not expect to feel guilty. It’s the same guilt my mother reigns on me on a daily basis.

Every morning, however, as I am dutifully walking to my class, I am bombarded with advertising, petitions and free movie passes. Like most people, I love free movie passes, but I do not appreciate the snide remarks from solicitors as I walk away after saying “no.”

Not a single day goes by that I am not subjected to solicitors who make me feel guilty and inhuman for neglecting to sign a petition for which I just do not have time, or I am ill-informed about.

Students who walk to and from classes between Sierra Hall and the several science buildings will encounter three to five solicitors and petitioners everyday.

“Do you have a minute for the environment?” or “Did you know companies are testing fertilizers on humans?” are some of the phrases petitioners will approach students with.

Now, the dilemma arises for any conscientious human being: “How do I respond ‘no’ without sounding like a completely insensitive person?” Soon after a person responds no, the petitioner looks back with utter disgust and disapproval. No matter how an individual responds to the petitioners, guilt is an immediate reaction.

A person goes through an array of emotions. If an individual does not want to sign a petition to save the environment, is he or she careless and selfish? Now, what about chemical testing on humans? If I do not sign the petition, does it mean I am contributing to the lack of awareness on the issue? What if your excuse is simply that you do not have the time?

These excuses fail to resonate with petitioners. Their facial expressions show resentment. As I quietly walk away with my head down to the ground with guilt and shame, I have to ask myself, “How could I say no? They must think I am horrible.”

After contemplating the situation, five minutes later I become angry with myself for allowing the petitioners to make me feel guilty. Before the petitioners, my mother was the only person with this effect on my psyche.

Not signing these petitions has created a whirlwind in my mind. Was I neglecting my so-called activism?

Unlike petitioners, charity representatives are almost impossible to say “no” to, let alone avoid. Most charity representatives are seen at the locations where students spend money.

As a student living off my inadequate financial aid, when I enter on-campus eateries, my money expenditure is designated for only one thing, food. When I approach these locations, however, I encounter several charities asking for donations to causes, such as putting an end to domestic violence.

Of course, if I ignore these people or say “I can’t right at this moment,” the overwhelming feeling of guilt comes over me like a ton of bricks.

Most petitioners and solicitors are allowed to ask for signatures or advertise on campus. Since CSUN is a public university, most solicitors need only a permission form to be approved by the Matador Involvement Center to advertise on campus.

Unfortunately, students cannot avoid solicitors and petitioners. My only hope that remains is to one day stop feeling guilty when I do not sign a petition or listen to a solicitor, and continue to let my mother be the only person to facilitate guilt.

Veronica Rocha can be reached at

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