Opening a window is not always the best solution to get fresh air circulating through one’s dorm room at Northwestern. It is no challenge recognizing the various smells wafting through campus, but where they come from is a puzzling mystery for some.
According to senior Marji Mulder, there is a concoction of smells from different industries that create the unique aroma. Mulder has lived in Orange City her whole life and is no stranger to nose cringes. “It depends on the wind direction. It smells like paint if the wind is coming from the south.”
The headquarters for Diamond Vogel Paints is located just south of campus. “This is the most dominant factor contributing to the smell,” Mulder said.
Also in this direction of town is the Orange City industry, Advance Brands.
Advance Brands is a meat-processing plant that produces primarily microwavable meats. NWC student Aaron Hoekstra worked at the plant for the previous two summers. “When I left work I would reek of the processed meat,”Hoekstra said. “The smell of the meat also circulates in the air and travels through town.”
During fall, the smell of harvest is added to Orange City’s aroma. According to Chad S. Miller, a biology professor at NWC, “A lot of dust, plant debris and diesel motor exhaust are released into the air during harvest.”
For some, this smell is quite familiar and is a reminder of the busy and often stressful season at present. Sophomore Kendra De Jong helps out with her family’s farm in nearby Hospers.
“My siblings and I started helping and tagging along with my dad pretty much as soon as we could walk,” said De Jong. “Besides taking care of the cattle, my family and I have to get all the corn and beans
out, bale all the cornstalk bales and try to work all the ground before it freezes and starts to snow.”
Some are more immune to the odor of Orange City.
“I am used to the smell after living here my whole life,” Mulder said. “The only time I notice it is when the trucks hauling pigs pass through the highway on the middle of campus.”
Lisa Barber, the residential director of Fern Smith Hall, feels the same way. “The smells of Orange City aren’t that noticeable to me except for the livestock.”
Autumn brings with it the onset of harvest, unpredictable weather and a number of overwhelming surprises. Soon enough though, winter will set in, and we will be more worried about what tickles our fingers and toes than our noses.