SHAC and UMD Health Services are working to raise awareness of UMD's campus-wide smoke-free policy.
Remember, UMD is now a completely smoke-free campus. You can view this policy at: http://www.d.umn.edu/breathefree/
SHAC's involvement in the implementation of the smoke-free policy at UMD
- When did you begin advocating for the policy on campus?
Our advocacy for the smoke-free policy had a multiple stage approach. We started our advocacy in December of 2004 with a proposal to UMD administration to be a smoke-free campus by 2010, followed by surveys and forums with students, faculty and staff. Our next step was in February of 2005 with a proposal to have no smoking within 25 feet of all entrances, windows or air vents; this policy was approved and became a stepping-stone for the current policy. The smoke-free policy went into affect September 1, 2007 for the campus with the exception of housing as contracts were already signed for the academic year; therefore the ENTIRE campus went smoke-free May 17, 2008 (after the completion of spring semester).
- When was the policy implemented?
September 1, 2007 for campus minus housing
May 17, 2008 for entire campus
- What was the smoking policy before the campus went smoke free?
No smoking allowed 25 feet from entrances, windows and air vents
- Who did you seek support from?
The committee that we sought support from was called the UMD Safety, Health and Emergency Preparedness Advisory Committee. This committee helped with our first goal of the 25 feet rule but because they no longer meet, our next support person was our Vice-Chancellor for Academic Support and Student Life (ASSL).
- Who did you propose the plan to?
We proposed our plan to the Chancellor and have since been working more closely with the Vice-Chancellor of ASSL who has been proof-reading and giving feedback on our proposals before they are presented to the Chancellor.
- Was the person(s) receptive to the plan?
Both the Chancellor and Vice-Chancellor (ASSL) have been very receptive to the plan. The Vice-Chancellor has been very helpful by meeting with us to give feedback and communicate things that should be adjusted or included to increase support and approval from the Chancellor.
- How was the plan presented?
We submitted a cover letter summarizing a packet of information. We were advised to keep the cover letter to one page with supporting information included to reference if needed.
- What information was included in the presentation?
We included survey results and recommendations from the American College Health Association. More recently we have been working on another proposal to increase enforcement and awareness; in this proposal we included survey results from the original proposal, a list of the colleges/universities in the US that have smoke-free/tobacco-free policies (can be found through the American Lung Association), summary of interviews with other colleges with similar colleges (similar to this), and alternatives to the plan.
- What were your major obstacles during this process? How did you overcome them?
In our research of other institutions, enforcement appeared to be a consistent challenge. Our university has taken the path of trying to change the culture of the university rather than attempting to implement enforcement strategies. SHAC has taken the approach of trying to change the culture by raising awareness of the policy through an educational campaign. To this end, we have implemented the slogan “Breathe Free UMD” on posters across campus; we have also designed business cards that can be handed out to people smoking on campus as a reminder of the policy and to provide resources for smoking cessation programs. We are working with facilities management under the proposal to paint the slogan on sidewalks, and to imprint the slogan on campus buildings/signs. We are currently developing a brochure about tobacco use and the opportunities at UMD Health Services for smoking cessation support. The educational campaign is a work in progress.
- What were your successes during this process?
We have expanded our educational programs around the policy.
- What recommendations would you give me for proposing a smoke-free campus policy at my university?
Plan ahead with proposals and timelines. Incorporate opinions via forums or focus groups of a cross-section of the campus community to get the full scope of ideas, perceptions and concerns. Consider providing time for education about the policy and smoking cessation services prior to implementation.
Don’t give up! Sure it seems like a difficult task but it will pay off and it will not stop being difficult after the implementation; maintaining communication lines between who you propose the idea to/who makes the decision is ideal so that continued support and feedback can be given.
Don’t be afraid to continue to ask for help or ask questions of me or other people who have been through the process.
Authored by Brianna Peters, Chair of the Student Health Advisory Committee 2007-2009, with contributions from UMD Health Services.
This initiative is sponsored by SHAC.