A t 4:20 p.m. on Wednesday, as thousands lit hand-rolled joints on the University of Colorado's Norlin Quad in celebration of 4/20, CU freshman Alice Hearn continued her research at the campus library.

Only feet away from the mob of smokers, Hearn worked diligently on her paper in a room with less than five other students in site.

"It's so quiet in here right now," Hearn said. "I was here the day after St. Patrick's Day and it was about like this."

Despite the hype across campus regarding the 4/20 smoke-out, the majority of students, like Hearn, chose not to participate in the festivities.

Campus officials estimated about 10,000 people from the campus and around the state joined on the Norlin Quadrangle to light up, but some students found themselves too engulfed in homework, classes and jobs to make time for the celebration.

University officials estimate only about 20 to 25 percent of participants -- between 2,000 and 2,500 attendees -- are students of CU, leaving the majority of CU students to their normal daily routines.

Hearn said she strategically planned her trip to the library Wednesday afternoon in hopes of getting a comfy chair and a quiet workspace.

Many of the students who didn't stop to smoke, said they spent the day as they would any other Wednesday.


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CU senior Katelyn Cowan cracked a book on the steps of Norlin Library Wednesday morning before heading to another class.

"I have class till 4 p.m. and work at 5 p.m.," Cowan said. "It's a pretty normal day for me other than watching the big event. I mean who doesn't like a big event every once in a while?"

Cowan said the event has become more about freshmen getting the experience because they're new to campus then a must for seniors who have "been there, done that."

CU freshman Dung Le spent the morning in Norlin Library catching up on homework so he could make time later in the afternoon to join in on the 4/20 experience.

"You have to experience it at least once," Le said.

Other students flocked to the library because it would be less crowded in the afternoon when many dropped their books to hit the quad.

"I have a paper ... and a project to do ... that will take up most of my day," said CU senior Nia Robinson. "I thought it would be quiet here this afternoon and I could get a lot done."

With little more then a week until finals, Robinson said she doesn't have much time for breaks during the "final push of the semester."

"I'll take occasional breaks to go look out the window and see what's happening, but it's going to be mainly homework for me today," Robinson said.

CU freshman Kaila Mahuiki is skipping out on the smoke-out experience to remember the 12th anniversary of the Columbine shooting -- a day very close to her heart.

"It means thinking and praying about what happened on April 20, 1999 and about all the victims," Mahuiki said. "My older brother and sister were in the school that day so it means thinking about them a lot too."