Video by Zach Bermejo
Turns out it was a Facebook event that started as a joke, according to its creator Austin Huber, a sophomore English major at UNC. Titled, “Vape Facing North To Blow Greeley’s Bad Stink Into Wyoming,” the event gained rapid popularity only hours after its creation.
“I just wanted to make a joke,” Huber said. “I absolutely didn’t expect these many people to say they were interested.”
The idea came to Huber when he saw bizarre Facebook events surrounding Hurrican Irma, with one event dedicated to vaping a cloud big enough to actually fight Irma in order to dispel the destruction.
“The hurricane was obviously a horrible thing, but I liked how they were making light out of a bad situation,” Huber said. “It’s something that I am pretty much all about.”
On Sept. 23, 490 users on Facebook claimed they were interested in going and 163 said they were committed to vaping for the cause.
“I originally wasn’t even going to go but enough people showed an interest so I knew that I had to come,” Huber said.
For UNC students, Greeley’s smell is a fact a life.
“Before I moved here people told me that the smell is bad but you get used to it,” Huber said. “I haven’t gotten used to it.”
According to Taylor Zangari, a sophomore English major at UNC, the smell is a daily occurrence for her when she walks to class.
“On hot days it just really ferments the smell in the air, sometimes you can’t even open the window,” Zangari said.
However, the day of the event was overshadowed by cloudy skies and rainy weather. Despite the 163 people who claimed they were going, only a handful of students showed up to fight the stink.
“I went to UNC last year, but I transferred because the smell in Greeley is unbearable,” said Sam Sterns, a sophomore business marketing major at Colorado State University. “Hopefully this will turn things around and make the air less stinky.”
As 4:20 p.m., the time the event was scheduled to start, rolled by, it was clear that the turnout was not going to meet expectations. However, it was something Huber was not discouraged by.
“Unfortunately since it’s starting to rain, I think these clouds are going to win out,” Huber said. “I didn’t have any expectations for this, I just thought it was a funny thing to do.”
While it is Huber’s first time he has ever made an event of this kind, it won’t be the last. He has already thought of a list of ideas he can’t wait to invite people to.
“I was thinking about having an event where we would talk to the squirrels like Gronk from Emperor’s New Groove or another one when we would act out scenes from the Titanic in the library,” Huber said.
Whether or not the vaping helped rid Greeley of its smell, the event had some other unforeseen benefits.
“I think this raises awareness for the positives of vaping,” Sterns said. “Not only helping people quit smoking, which is awesome, but also to help flavor the air.”
While the weather and the rain might have been a factor in the low turnout, it certainly held the smell at bay. A small victory but one that did not go unnoticed. Sterns commented on the turnaround.
“We’re turning stinkytown into flavortown.”
Greeley is home to many farms with cows, which contributes to the foul smell of the town.
Collegian reporter James Wyatt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jameswill_I_am.