American Cancer Society Recognizes College


American Cancer Society Recognizes College

SUNY Cortland recently was named a national and New York state leader in the promotion of healthy campus lifestyles by the American Cancer Society for successfully implementing a 100-percent tobacco-free policy.

The College was among only 48 campuses to earn an “A” grade in a recent society report on the national trend of creating tobacco-free environments at colleges and universities.

SUNY Cortland became a tobacco-free campus on Jan. 1, amid outreach efforts that included education campaigns, tobacco cessation programs and a volunteer cigarette-butt cleanup in neighborhoods surrounding campus.

The College will hold a second tobacco-litter cleanup from 3 to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 1. Volunteers will meet on the steps of Corey Union to pick up supplies and then fan out to the neighborhoods on the campus perimeter.

tobacco litter
Volunteer students, faculty and staff earlier this spring filled this 20 gallon tank with cigarette waste in the campus vicinity as a community service.

“Most tobacco users have been compliant with our tobacco-free policy,” said Catherine Smith, the College’s health educator. “Unfortunately, it has been reported that some smokers have congregated by family homes near campus and have discarded their tobacco litter on those properties.”

Earlier this spring, students, faculty and staff nearly filled a 20-gallon fish tank with used cigarette butts and related tobacco throwaways during a volunteer cleanup. The scope of Wednesday’s litter pickup will be expanded to include more neighborhoods surrounding west campus, Smith said.

Wellness and community engagement are both hallmarks of a SUNY Cortland education, College President Erik J. Bitterbaum said.

“Leadership on health and wellness issues ¾ whether it’s tobacco-use, obesity, mental health or anything else related to personal or community well-being  ¾ is a natural role for SUNY Cortland,” Bitterbaum said. “We are honored to have been identified by the American Cancer Society as a campus that has made significant progress in this area.”

According to the recently released society report titled “Tobacco-Free U:2013 New York State Dean’s List,” New York has more tobacco-free campuses than any other state, with 48 of the 608 tobacco-free campuses identified across the nation.

SUNY Cortland was the second SUNY campus to announce a tobacco-free policy. Since that announcement the SUNY system administration has stated its goal is for all of its 64 campuses to become smoke free by 2014.