Aiming for a campus free of smoke, a group of students has launched a campaign to outlaw all smoking and tobacco products at Sacramento State University.
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Calling themselves Hornets for a Healthy Hive, the campaign is being carried out as a project for a public relations class the students are taking.
The hornet name was chosen because Herky the Hornet is the school’s mascot.
One of the spokespersons for the campaign is Cameron Park resident Sam (Samantha) Parcher, 23, who is a senior at Sacramento State and a public relations major.
Parcher claimed that while smoking is banned in all buildings on campus, as well as within 20 feet of all walkways and doorways, people don’t always follow the rules.
“Our goal is to make the campus smoke and tobacco free,” she said. “Doing so will improve everyone’s health and make it more tolerable for those who don’t smoke. A lot of people encounter secondhand smoke on campus.”
She said the 71 students spearheading the campaign are all enrolled in a class called Public Relations Planning and Management. They receive credit for the class with their grade dependent on how successful they are in achieving their goal and on how much effort they put into it.
“Every year the students select a project and this year the students chose this topic. ” she said, “but it’s never been something this big and for something this lasting. The goal is to educate the campus and make the school a better place.”
Parcher said they collected information as part of their project including conducting a survey. With almost 29,000 students on campus, they received slightly over 300 responses, with 81.3 percent of those completing the survey in favor of making the campus smoke free.
The survey also asked smokers if they smoke on campus, with 62 percent saying they did.
Getting media attention is part of any public relations campaign and so far they have had articles published in different newspapers, including the school paper. The group is also on Facebook at Facebook.com/csushealthyhive and they have held events like cigarette butt pick ups with their findings displayed in a 10 gallon fish tank.
Two upcoming events they plan to host are town hall meetings on Nov. 6 and 19. The purpose being to solicit ideas on the potential campus wide policy change.
“Ultimately the goal is to have the president of the university, Alexander Gonzalez, sign a policy banning all tobacco and smoking on the campus by Dec. 4,” said Parcher.
In a written statement, Gonzalez said, “I was very pleased to meet with the students from the Hornets for a Healthy Hive campaign and hear about their excellent work. Their application of classroom learning to a real-world campaign is impressive. I look forward to working with them on how we may be able to incorporate their proposals once I have completed a full evaluation of the tobacco recommendations for the campus.”
If successful, Sacramento State would be the first tobacco-free campus in the California State University system.
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.