Work on a Simmons College Tobacco Free initiative was started by SNHS students nearly two years ago and since then, efforts have been underway to increase awareness of the topic, gather information about what other colleges and universities are doing to support the health of their communities, and explore the challenges of implementation.
In the fall of 2013, thirteen members of the Simmons community formed the Simmons Tobacco Free Committee to work on educating the community about the benefits of a tobacco free environment. We, as a committee, are committed to promoting the health and wellness of Simmons students, faculty, and staff by providing a living, working, and learning environment free of secondhand smoke. In addition, we are committed to supporting all members of the community in managing the challenges of becoming a tobacco free campus. We recognize that tobacco use is the number one cause of premature death in the United States and we feel it is essential to join nearly 1,000 colleges and universities across the nation in becoming tobacco free. A tobacco free Simmons will create an optimal learning environment by protecting the health of all members of the campus community from secondhand smoke exposure, as well as protecting the environment from toxic waste.
Many institutions in Boston are tobacco free or smoke free, including Boston University Medical Campus, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Dental Medicine, Harvard School of Public Health, MassArt, MCPHS University, Northeastern, Wentworth Institute of Technology, Emmanuel College, and Wheelock College.
During spring of 2014, we sought feedback and concerns from the Simmons community. Student Government Association (SGA) President Sandy Lor and her team administered a survey and gathered student feedback on the possibility of moving to a tobacco free campus. Dean Judy Beal, Chair of the Tobacco Free Committee, attended a SGA meeting to update students on the work of the committee and to offer further context and rationale for the initiative. The Tobacco Free Committee shared the proposed Tobacco Free Policy with the entire community and hosted a Community Meeting on April 29. The committee prepared a document with answers to frequently asked questions and shared it with the community on May 2. Many people wrote to the Committee Chair with support and questions about the policy. All feedback was reviewed, discussed and addressed by the committee.
The decision was made to move to a tobacco free environment at Simmons College effective August 1st 2014 after an inclusive process of community engagement, education, and discussion about becoming tobacco free. We are very proud of the approach and the process which was undertaken at Simmons and very pleased that with the decision to adopt a tobacco free policy all five Colleges of the Fenway will now be tobacco free.
The Tobacco Free Committee will lead the implementation of the new policy in a supportive manner which reflects the community spirit that is characteristic of Simmons College.
Signed: May 20, 2014
The Simmons College Tobacco Free Committee:
|Susan Antonelli, Assistant Dean of Student Life||Steve Haag, Former Assistant to the CAS Dean|
|Judy Beal, Dean, SNHS and Chair of the Committee||Allyson Irish, Senior Director, Communications|
|Alan Blume, President of the Faculty Senate||Kavita Jayachandran, Director of Benefits and Operations|
|Sean Collins, Director of Public Safety||Kay Petersen, Medical Director of Health Center|
|Sherri Ettinger, Director of the Counseling Center||Jess Samuels, Director of Resident Life|
|Janet Fishstein, AVP Government Relations, Community Affairs and Campus Services||SNHS/Nursing undergraduate student Allison Tremblay and Jessica Onnembo|