Aimed at bringing Southern Oregon University a breath of fresh air, a campus-wide tobacco ban is set to take effect in Fall 2012.
Initiated by SOU President Mary Cullinan, the Tobacco-free Campus Project Task Force, a part of the Healthy Campus Initiative, will put forth the specifics of making the tobacco-free transition before the end of this term.
The tobacco ban is a top priority in the Healthy Campus Initiative, and has full support from Cullian, said Dean of Students Laura O’Bryon, who is actively involved with the Healthy Campus Initiative.
“If we can make our campus environment as health oriented as possible, we’re going to help our students be more successful over the long haul … and throughout a lifetime really,” O’Bryon said.
Over the last two years, students have been asked to take surveys, and voice their opinions at an open forum about the issue, and according to O’Bryon, there hasn’t been a lot of opposition – or support – toward the ban.
Beginning in Fall 2011, the task force will kick off an education campaign in an effort to inform SOU students, faculty, and staff about the ban, and also offer support services.
“We’re trying finalize the strategic plan for next year right now,” O’Bryon said. “We want to make sure that we do it right.”
Currently in Oregon, Lane Community College, and Umpqua Community College enforce tobacco bans on their campuses, and both Oregon State University and University of Oregon are operating on similar tobacco-free timelines as SOU.
“There is actually a national movement for tobacco-free campuses in higher education,” she said.
The Tobacco-free Campus Project Task Force is one of five separate task forces beneath the umbrella of the Healthy Campus Initiative, and O’Bryon would like to see more student involvement during next year. Each task force includes student, faculty, and staff members, and together cover a wide range of health oriented issues that the University wants to address during the upcoming academic year.