Student survey to determine Mont Alto's view about tobacco-free campus

Students tally the results of a tobacco policy survey at Penn State Mont Alto.

Students in Penn State Mont Alto's integrated English 15 and Statistics 100 course tally the results of a survey to determine how the campus views going tobacco-free.

Credit: Kira Hamman

As chair of the University Faculty Senate Faculty Benefits Committee, Renee Borromeo, Penn State Mont Alto director in physical therapy, solicited Mont Alto’s faculty members’ opinions about Penn State’s smoking policy (AD 32) in an email on Aug. 30, 2016.

Her request resulted in a lively email discussion among the faculty, drawing interest from members of Mont Alto’s Student Government Association (SGA).

To provide an inclusive sense of the Mont Alto community on the issue and in coordination with the SGA, the students in an integrated English 15 and Statistics 100 course have undertaken a campus-wide survey that is soliciting the opinions of all members of the campus community ― students, faculty, and staff.

“Interestingly enough,” said Borromeo, “some of the Penn State campuses (Hershey and Lehigh Valley) have already gone tobacco-free and most Big Ten schools are tobacco-free. ”There are now 1,483 campuses that are entirely smoke-free in the United States. Of those, 1,137 are 100 percent tobacco-free and 823 prohibit the use of e-cigarettes anywhere on campus, according to an April 2016 report from the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation (ANRF).

Data from the survey is currently being analyzed by the students, who will submit a report on their findings to Borromeo and the campus leadership within the next few weeks.

Kira Hamman, Penn State Mont Alto instructor in mathematics, teaches the statistics part of the course. "The survey is a great example of Penn State’s commitment to engaged scholarship," she said. "It’s been an excellent hands-on learning experience for the students and will benefit the community at the same time.”