Purdue Calumet is going ‘smoke-free’

Smoking no longer will be permitted on campus at Purdue University Calumet effective this fall.

Chancellor Howard Cohen recently announced the university’s plans to implement a “Smoke-Free Campus” policy, beginning the first day of the upcoming fall semester (Aug. 24). Purdue Calumet will join more than 140 college campuses nationwide that are smoke-free.

“As an institute of higher learning, we can’t ignore the seriousness of the health risks posed by smoking,” Purdue Calumet Student Health Services Director Maureen Panares said. “By introducing this new policy, we, as a university, are doing what we should.”

Currently, smoking is prohibited in all Purdue Calumet buildings, but smokers are permitted to use designated outdoor smoking areas located near university buildings. These areas will be eliminated, as the new policy prohibits smoking in all outdoor areas on campus, university vehicles, and other off-campus property owned or operated by Purdue University Calumet, including the Academic Learning Center in Merrillville.

The university-wide policy change has gained support over the past year, aided by the work of several Purdue Calumet nursing students. Christine Langfield and Anna-Michelle Visak, both of Griffith, and Paula Seth of Crown Point began researching the idea of a smoke-free campus last fall as part of a Senior Nursing Capstone course project. Under the direction of Panares and Associate Professor of Nursing Ellen Moore, the students surveyed Purdue Calumet faculty and other students and discovered that a majority favored a smoke-free campus.

Last spring, nursing students Natalie Martinez-Santana of Hammond, Darnell Rather of Glenwood, Ill. and Joy Steele of Lynwood, Ill. continued work on the project and successfully gained endorsements from each campus governance organization.

“This type of project is exactly what experiential learning should be about-students learning by actually doing something practical and pragmatic in their field,” Panares said.

Newly elected Student Government President David Ober said the policy change is a step in the right direction.

“It is extremely important for the university to promote a healthy environment for the administrators, educators and students,” he said. “Put simply, students who make good decisions regarding their health are better positioned to be successful-and, more importantly, happy.”

The decision to make Purdue Calumet smoke-free has been unanimously supported by the university’s Faculty Senate, Administrative and Professional Advisory Committee (APSAC), Clerical and Service Staff Advisory Committee (CSSAC), Student Government Association, and Housing and Residential Education Staff.

(Written by Office of University Relations student intern Nathan Barnes)