On October 24th, GUSA hosted a smoke free roundtable to discuss the possibility of transitioning Georgetown to a tobacco free campus. Over sixty students attended and enjoyed the nacho bar provided by GUSA. Charles DeSantis, the University’s Associate Vice President for Benefits and Wellness, presented to the attendees followed by an open forum for questions. DeSantis highlighted the path to a “Tobacco Free Georgetown” and the steps necessary to roll out the enforcement of this policy by August 2017.
DeSantis’s presentation revealed how Georgetown is in effect behind many other schools in the DC area in enforcing this much-needed policy. Cessation resources to aid students in quitting smoking are not heavily promoted and the 25-foot-rule is not commonly enforced. This lack of enforcement possibly correlates to the placement of ashtrays right outside major on campus buildings, such as the ICC and Lauinger Library.
Students posed many plausible concerns regarding the placement of smoking areas, enforcement, cessation, and communication. A major concern voiced was the fear of marginalizing international students, many of whom are smokers. Short-term goals were voiced such as removing ashtrays in public areas in an effort to remove smoke from high traffic areas.
Overall, this open roundtable discussion was the first of many opportunities for students to voice their concerns and comments on a smoke-free campus. This event jump-started the campaign, in hopes of ending smoking on campus by next year.