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Penn State ‘Smell-Check’ Card Scents That Should Exist

Chances are, you’ve received a Penn State “peel-and-sniff” smell-check card at some point this semester. The cards were developed to remind people to perform daily smell checks because the sudden-onset loss of smell is one of the most specific and common symptoms of a COVID-19 infection.

The cards are a part of a public awareness campaign by sensory researchers in the food science department of the College of Agricultural Sciences. All you need to do is peel a plastic tab off of the card, smell it, and scan a QR code to confirm the answer.

Currently, Penn State’s scents are garlic, coconut, pine, black pepper, coffee, grape, flower, and lemon. However, we think the next round of scents should be a bit more Penn State-esque. Maybe with a few of these favorite smells…

Halal Cart @ 2 a.m.

Einstein and Newton wouldn’t even be able to explain why the halal cart scent is significantly stronger and sweeter past midnight. The yellow rice, falafel, lamb, and chicken combos smell meaty, smoky, and sweet.

Frat Basement

Beer. Sweat. Jungle Juice. Regret. Penn State frat basements are not your typical basements. The pungent fragrance that penetrates your nostrils is borderline offensive and definitely rancid. Students sure would know if they have COVID-19 or not after smelling this on a card.

Your Jacket After Sitting In Irving’s All Day

If you spend more than 20 minutes in Irving’s doing work or eating breakfast, your clothing is guaranteed to smell like bagels and coffee when you leave. Whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing, the aroma stays with you all day. It happens to the best of us.

Ritner Hall Piano & Garbage Room

Most folks living in Pollock need to take their trash outside to the dumpster. A handful of lucky students can take their trash to a garbage room on the ground floor (that also houses a piano). Convenient? Yes. Smelly? Definitely. It smells like any room filled with trash would, with a hint of sweetness from the vending machines.

‘Old Book Smell’ In The Stacks

The Stacks in the library are closed due to the pandemic. However, veteran Penn Staters remember the comforting smell of the Stacks. The chemical breakdown of compounds in the paper release the smoky, earthy, and woody smell that fills your nostrils while you’re studying.

That One Leafy Bush In Front Of UHS

The UHS bush is arguably the most distinct Penn State smell of them all. We even considered it a top contender for a Penn State candle. Some might say it smells like an asshole. Others might say it smells like chives. Regardless, there’s no other scent on Penn State’s campus like it.

HUB Panda Express

The orange chicken scent is bussin’. Out of all of the HUB’s dining options, Panda Express smells the strongest. Variations of rice, protein, and vegetables create an aroma on the west side of the HUB that students could identify with just a mild whiff.

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About the Author

Colleen Nersten

Colleen is a junior biology major from York, Pa and is one of Onward State's associate editors. She overuses the ~tilde~ and aspires to be no other than the great Guy Fieri. You can find Colleen filling up her gas tank at Rutter’s, the ~superior~ Pennsylvania gas station. Please direct any questions or concerns to [email protected]


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