If you see an event happening at Merritt College, chances are pretty good that you will find Marlene Hurd there asking for support while standing behind a table filled with anti-smoking literature and a sign-up sheet. As president of Merritt’s Tobacco-Less Club, Marlene has taken the lead in turning Merritt into a 100% Smoke-Free Campus, following Laney and Berkeley City College. (For now, there are designated smoking signs at Merritt which are not always adhered to.) For the past year, Marlene and club advocates have been taking the necessary steps to get the college’s buy-in and present it to the Board of Trustees for approval.
“I don’t want to see smokers endanger their lives, and I don’t want others to breathe in second- hand smoke from cigarettes or e-cigarettes,” says Marlene. “I want to build the facts and get support.” She’s glad to say she already has many positive votes, including several District administrators, President Ambriz-Galaviz, and the Classified Senate who “fully support any initiative that will promote a healthy and safe working environment.” To further promote this issue, Marlene has applied for a $5,000 Legacy Smoke-Free and Tobacco-Free Community College Grant Initiative offered by the American College Health Association.
Marlene’s efforts have also been recognized outside of campus when she recently received an award from the Alameda Tobacco Control Coalition (ATCC) for her dedication to making the District’s colleges smoke-free and impacting so many students. “If we can save one person’s life by educating them on the dangers of smoking and second-hand smoke,” says Marlene, “this effort will all be worthwhile.” (Photo by Alishia Thomas/Laney Tower)