With the start of a the new academic year, WPI sets a new course in its continuing pursuit of making the campus a safe and rich learning environment that demonstrates a genuine concern for the health and wellbeing of students, faculty, and staff, while promoting a culture of mutual respect.
Starting Monday, August 25, 2014, WPI will be a tobacco-free campus, joining some 800 campuses around the country, and more than 20 in Massachusetts, with similar tobacco policies. This policy is part of a broader institutional effort to create a campus culture of mutual respect, wellness, and sustainability. This policy originated with the Student Government Association’s Smoking Policy Committee’s efforts over the last three years, and has been approved by the Board of Trustees, the Safety Committee, Fringe Benefit Committee, and others. The SGA believes this policy will work best if viewed as the shared responsibility of the WPI community.
The purpose of this policy is to limit the exposure of the WPI community to the negative effects of tobacco products and their secondhand smoke. As part of the policy, WPI will offer smoking cessationprograms to students, faculty, and staff through Human Resources.
“This has been a student-driven issue for several years. This shows the power of students to influence university policy, and stake a claim for their own health and wellbeing,” said Philip Clay, dean of students. “The time was right for the university to support this policy.”
Cigarette receptacles on campus have been removed and signs reminding smokers of the policy are, or will be, placed at those locations. Some 150 signs will be in place at campus entryways and parking lots, as well as other notifications on the doorways of campus buildings.
“Research shows that when an organization is tobacco free, there are fewer health problems,” said Tracy Hassett, vice president of human resources. “The university’s decision to become tobacco free is in line with WPI’s commitment to promoting a healthy and safe environment.”
WPI strives to create a community and atmosphere that is as free from recognized hazards as possible. With the goal being shared responsibility and management of this policy, common sense, courtesy, and support for each other are essential. As a culture change, this will take time, continuing education and awareness building.
Read the tobacco policy and find other resources here.