Maria Wittenauer –
Many, if not all, of us have noticed students, staff, or faculty members smoking outside of buildings on campus. This has been allowed, as long as these individuals stay fifteen feet away from the buildings. But, recent legislation is bringing even this into question.
Public universities in Illinois have recently banned all smoking on campus, even outside.
However, since Illinois College is a private college, the law does not apply to this campus. The question is being raised over IC should voluntarily adopt the new law as well. Christian Flores and Dan Lewis are two students looking into the matter.
Both see the new law as a step in the right direction. It is unfortunate that the law does not apply to IC, but it could be even more effective if students make a movement to ban smoking on campus.
However, as Flores points out, the input of the student body is needed. He says that if the majority of students do not want a change, he will not pursue it. But, if statistics prove true, Lewis says that “Less than 20 percent of all people age 18-25 smoke.” It will have to remain to be seen whether this proves true on IC’s campus.
Any changes to take place would, of course, have to go through the administration. But, as Lewis says, there is an opportunity for the student body to get involved. “If a petition was signed by hundreds of students and then presented to the administration, they would have to consider the policy and address the issue.”
Such a petition would be one of the several ways to accomplish this. It is likely that the students could really make a difference, proven by the involvement and protests that revolved around the textbook policy decision. Work among the students has already taken place; the Student Senate and the Public Health Educators have begun discussions. The PHEs already conduct an annual Great American Smoke Out in which they draw lines fifteen feet away from the entrances to buildings in order to ensure that smokers keep the proper distance.
Due to the environmental impact that the littering of cigarettes can cause, the matter will also be brought to the general memberships of the IC Democrats, Parker After Dark, and the IC Environmentalists.
While not a huge population of students smoke, a decision to ban smoking on campus would change the campus quite a bit. There would be no more cigarette smell walking into your dorm or lingering around class buildings, as well as no cigarette butts lying around.
On the other hand, the students who do smoke would find it rather difficult to find a place to smoke.
However, according to Flores, “[w]e often hear that this generation has the potential to end smoking and I believe that is something very powerful.”
So, no matter how the student body feels on the matter, all voices need to be heard to make a good decision for our campus. As the matter proceeds, student input is needed. As Flores says, if students speak up, the Illinois College administration should pay more attention.
Maria Wittenauer, from Springfield, Illinois, is an undecided sophomore thinking about an English major at Illinois College. Maria is a writer for The Rambler and a member of SAB, Art Club, and Newman Club.