The University of North Texas spent more than $36,000 on stickers, and the supplies to print them, designed to encourage social distancing and mask wearing on its Denton campus.
Those who have spent any time on the campus over the past few months would have certainly seen stickers instructing them in a variety of pandemic safety measures.
Stickers stuck to couches and lecture chairs tell students not to “perch here” in a play on the university’s eagle mascot, a lighthearted message juxtaposed with the sticker’s overall purpose.
Arrow-shaped adhesives stuck to sidewalks instruct passersby in the correct pedestrian traffic flow to minimize the clumps of people around campus, and other signs tell people heroes wear masks.
Universities across the country have been slammed with less funding, even while some costs increase amid the pandemic, and signage promoting safe practices are just a slice of those added costs.
Recent meetings of UNT Board of Regents showed that even upticks in enrollment couldn’t offset the overall revenue dips the university system’s campuses saw when it came to on-campus losses.
Fewer people living on campus, eating in dining halls and buying from retailers meant a monetary decline that necessitated sharp cuts to spending in other areas that made more than $36,000 in sticker expenditures seem paltry.
Either way, that money was spent by UNT housing and dining, as well as the university’s sign shop, according to records obtained by the Denton Record-Chronicle through a public information request.
Of the three, the sign shop spent the most, with $16,427 spent during April 22-Sept. 2.
Purchases included thousands of feet of printing material with protective coatings to match, as well as just over $3,000 in specialized ink for those printers, according to receipts.
Additionally, the shop purchased about 500 plastic hinges to accompany signs.
UNT Dining spent another $14,382 from late June until Oct. 19. More than 70% of that money was spent on four days: June 30, July 28, July 30 and Aug. 13.
Thousands of dollars was spent on arrow-shaped stickers pointing people along designated paths to increase social distancing and stickers telling people to “take a stand.”
Custom banners also ranked high on the list of large purchases.