Students look to make campus smoke free

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Bars across the state have gone smoke free. Now, UW-Whitewater is making the effort to go in this direction.

Students began informally meeting last fall to gather information across campus on making UW-Whitewater a smoke-free community.

Megan Kiehl, a junior speech major, and Krista Woolever-Paul, a graduate student with a psychology undergraduate degree, are two members of the smoke-free campus committee.

“Our main goal is to see if the students on this campus are interested in taking a healthier approach,” Woolever-Paul said.

Kiehl and Woolever-Paul, along with eight other members, are assessing the campus community by asking students and faculty their thoughts on making campus tobacco free.

Kiehl said they’ve looked into all areas of campus, including different groups and majors. Recently, a staff member of the athletic department has showed support toward the committee, Kiehl said.

Swisher

“If a student is going to start smoking and they have not yet by the time they start college, this is the primary area where they may begin,” said Ruth Swisher, director of Health and Counseling Services.

Substantial research shows major effects not only toward tobacco users, but also on those affected by secondhand smoke, Swisher said.

“It’s wonderful that smoking is not allowed within the buildings on campus, but there still is significant exposure that anyone on campus will have reason to fore cross,” Swisher said.

Former UW-Whitewater student, Sarah Coons, helped take a proposal to Whitewater Student Government last year. Woolever-Paul said Coon’s proposal was a fast process and their goal now is to take 10 steps backwards.

“My look on it is just to help students, faculty and staff by making campus a healthier place to be,” Kiehl said.

The group is currently in the information gathering process to see if the idea is something the campus would jump on-board with. If the group gets enough support, a written proposal will be brought to WSG, faculty and other governing bodies on campus.

“We’re still looking at a good year before we take the next step,” Woolever-Paul said.

Having a smoke-free campus is a difficult topic for some, especially tobacco users who believe their rights are being taken away, Woolever said.

Swisher said the American College Health Association recommends that colleges take a closer look at the idea of having a smoke-free campus.                     The group received a position letter from ACHA sharing different ways schools have gone about the process, Kiehl said.

UW-Stout is the first in the UW System to go smoke-free. Other Wisconsin colleges, such as Western Technical College and Carroll University have also gone tobacco-free. Each campus has designed its own policies regarding the restrictions.

“I want to be as realistic as we can be and have the healthiest campus we can,” Swisher said. “We won’t get there by trying to do things fast.”