U of I Urbana Campus Now Smoke-Free
By Jeff Bossert
University of Illinois students will return to a smoke free campus after their holiday break. The Urbana campus officially banned smoking on all campus property Jan. 1, as well as the littering of tobacco products.
U of I Wellness Center Director Michele Guerra said many of the signs reminding staff and students of these changes have been posted to building entrances. Metal signs will be placed in parking lots, as well as temporary signs as needed in public places.
Guerra said this is seen as a culture change, with the biggest challenges on campus at athletic events and concerts. With that in mind, she says signs were up at the State Farm Center in September.
"Certainly (at) athletic events, because we have a lot of visitors coming in who are not part of the permanent campus community, may not be aware of the policy, and may have a culture of smoking at certain kinds of events," she said. "It may take a little bit longer to bring them into the fold on this."
Guerra said there will be more communication with football fans before the next season.
She said the Wellness Center is also recruiting a team of smoke-free campus ambassadors to help everyone refrain from smoking on campus grounds.
"They will will not really be enforcers - they will be an educational mechanism," she said. "They're going to be taught how to have a diplomatic conversation with people who we find smoking on the campus. Our first assumption when we see people smoking for the first few months is people do not know the policy has gone into effect, or they're confused about whether they're on campus property or not."
Guerra said students and faculty who repeatedly violate the smoke-free policy will be disciplined with the same disciplinary procedures that apply to any other policy breach.
She says there’s also a reporting mechanism on the smoke-free campus website, and a sample of the signs posted on campus prohibiting smoking, as well as the littering of tobacco products.