Merritt College is one of the first 20 colleges and universities nationwide to receive a $20K grant as part of the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the CVS Health Foundation’s Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative (TFGCI). This $3.6 million, multi-year program is intended to accelerate and expand the adoption and implementation of 100 percent smoke-and tobacco-free campus policies. Over the next three years, a total of 125 colleges and universities throughout the U.S. will be awarded TFGCI grants to support these efforts with technical assistance and resources to support their efforts.
The grant director, Pauline Bondonno, wrote the application to ACS, and led a two-year State Health Department grant at Merritt to ban e-cigarettes, as well as three Alameda county tobacco prevention grants which resulted in the formation of the Merritt Tobacco-less club over three years ago. Club coordinator Marlene Hurd has increased student enrollment and AS involvement to make Merritt smoke-free. Marlene is also staffing the ACS grant. The grant includes a task force of administration and students to brainstorm about the best ways to create a smoke-free campus, surveying campus attitudes regarding a smoke-free policy, an art contest with $100 first prize, and jobs for students to teach tobacco prevention in the classroom.
Jon Murphy of Health Services is coordinator of the grant. “We’re honored to be one of the first colleges to receive this pioneering grant and look forward to using these critical new resources to enable our tobacco prevention taskforce to successfully promote the adoption and implementation of a strong, 100 percent tobacco-free policy on campus,” he says. “Protecting the health and wellness of our faculty, staff, students, and visitors and creating a healthier and cleaner campus environment is a very high priority.”
The CVS Health Foundation is a private charitable organization that works to build healthier communities enabling people of all ages to lead healthy, productive lives. Marlene Hurd wrote the grant with Pauline Bondonno, Project Director of the Community Health Education Institute in Berkeley, who has worked with the club to get other county and state grants related to campus smoking issues.