(Photo illustration by Laura Dresser)
Recently added, a new policy was designed to make everyone breathe a little easier, literally. President Dianne Lynch made the announcement that beginning July 1, 2014, Stephens College will follow the example of the University of Missouri in keeping its campus smoke free. This new policy is not only something for the college campuses but for the Columbia community as a whole.
Change can be difficult to dive head first into. By taking baby steps into this policy, Stephens will first be establishing “smoking zones” by next spring, then slowly reducing those zones into “smoking huts” by next fall. This policy is trying to reduce the spreading of second hand smoke created by students and faculty.
Most students believe that it is a good idea to have designated smoking areas and/or huts.
“I don’t really care that there are people on campus that smoke, but what I don’t like are those that choose to smoke while walking to class and they’ve got ten people behind them inhaling their secondhand smoke. It’s inconsiderate,” Bakara Hudson, junior business marketing major, said.
While most students agree with Hudson and feel there should be specific areas for smokers, Jessica Langford, an integrated media major, said she feels like the policy is singling out smokers and forcing them to quit. Langford said she believes that while it is the schools responsibility to keep the campus environmentally safe and healthy it is not their responsibility to convince smokers to quit.
Students that do smoke have also voiced their concern on where they will go since, judging from the announcement, the smoking huts are only temporary.
In response to those students anxious with the idea of a smoke free campus, Deb Duren, vice president of student services, said that when the policy is put into affect the smoke huts may or may not still be around depending on the overall aesthetics, and amount of use that they receive.
In the event that after July 1 the huts are removed, students and faculty will no longer be allowed to smoke on properties owned by Stephens College.
Duren said those in need of a smoke break can simply retreat to the side walk which Stephens does not own. Additionally, if any smokers on campus own a car, which is seen as your private property, what you choose to do within the bounds of your vehicle is up to your discretion.
For those motivated by the new policy to quit smoking, Duren also mentions that smoking cessation programs are always offered at Stephens. Over all, Duren said that this change will help by creating a healthier environment for students, and though change is hard, it is something students must accept as a way to be more respectful and aware of our peers. Your fellow classmates and lungs will thank you.