With more and more of Missouri’s learning institutions embracing a tobacco-free campus, Mineral Area College’s Board of Trustees and administration are examining the creation of similarly healthy campaign on all of its properties. In addition to its Park Hills campus, MAC has outreach centers in freestanding buildings in Fredericktown, Perryville, and at high schools in Farmington, Potosi and Winona.
The decision to embrace a tobacco-free learning environment is not being made lightly, said College President Dr. Steve Kurtz.
“Part of our official mission here at MAC is to provide a safe learning environment,” Dr. Kurtz said. “And we have to ask ourselves, are we really providing that if we’re allowing second-hand smoke on our campus and, since we often have impressionable visitors of all ages on our campus, are we modeling tobacco usage on our campus and inadvertently saying it’s OK to use tobacco products.” Dr. Kurtz also pointed to the environmental damage done by cigarette butts and non-biodegradable materials used to manufacture smokeless tobacco products.
The initiative to explore going tobacco free is being spearheaded by MAC Vice President Gil Kennon and Assistant to the President Kevin Thurman, who are incorporating the consulting services of Ty Patterson of the Center of Excellence for Tobacco-Free Campus Policy, a nonprofit organization located in Springfield, Mo. He is a retired VP of Student Affairs for OTC, and was charged with implementing a tobacco-free initiative at OTC in 2003.
If new tobacco-free policy is adopted, Mineral Area College plans to begin its new era of tobacco-free properties in August 2015.
For more information on the tobacco-free initiative at MAC, check out www.MineralArea.edu, or call (573) 518-2157.