Stockton News

Facilities manager explains mysterious odor on Stockton’s campus

Written for The Argo by Ariele Oswald, Courtney Combs, and Brianna Batista

Earlier this month, students were met with an unpleasant smell similar to that of manure found on a farm. The unexpecting smell wafting around campus had students guessing what the source was and why it was everywhere. 

Looking around campus, especially near the campus center, students noticed new mounds of mulch piled around tree trunks. Preparing for the winter season, Stockton has put down new mulch in order to protect the surrounding nature from extreme temperature changes. The mulch acts as a barrier from the cold, which will be helpful with the upcoming snow the campus may encounter during the approaching months. Though it had been rumored that the infamous smell of manure came from the newly placed mulch, this actually is not true. 

Pine straw mulch, like that featured above, can be found throughout Stockton’s Galloway campus. Photo courtesy of Ariele Oswald.

David Derr, one of the groundskeeping managers at Stockton, explained that the smell came from the organic fertilizer that had been put down around campus. The organic, poultry-based fertilizer came from Pennsylvania and has a particularly pungent odor. “We usually put down this fertilizer every year. It takes a week or two for the smell to go away. But, [the smell] didn’t come from the mulch,” said Derr.

Stockton’s Galloway campus utilizes pine straw mulch, which contains nutrients from pine needles. Those in charge of managing Stockton’s grounds wanted to get away from hard-way mulch, so they felt this type of mulch was best for the well-being of Stockton’s plants. 

Stockton University’s groundskeepers have the responsibility for landscaping 558 out of the 1600 acres of the university’s campus, maintaining beautiful surroundings for all students, faculty, and visitors. Students can find plenty of campus information at