OLC Board Makes All Its Campuses Tobacco Free

Feb 15th, 2008 | By | Category: 19-3: Beyond Our Names: Uncovering Identity, Tribal College News

Oglala Lakota College (OLC, Kyle, SD) announced that effective Jan. 1, 2008, OLC became a tobacco-free campus at each of its college centers and the Piya Wiconi Administrative Headquarters.

OLC previously made its facilities smoke free, but at its August 2007 meeting, the OLC Board of Trustees passed a policy saying all of its campuses would be tobacco free.

“I am proud of our decision to become a tobacco-free campus,” says Newton Cummings, OLC Board of Trustees president. “We are committed to providing a healthy, comfortable, and productive environment for our students, faculty, and staff.”

The policy prohibits the use of all tobacco products, including spit tobacco. The policy applies to students, faculty, staff, and visitors at all college facilities, including buildings, sidewalks, parking lots, building entrances, and common areas. The policy has no effect on sacred use of traditional tobacco.

The OLC college centers are at Pine Ridge, Oglala, Batesland, Manderson, Porcupine, Rapid City, Allen, Martin, Kyle, Wanblee, and Eagle Butte. The OLC Nursing Program Campus had previously implemented a tobacco-free campus.

“The reason that the Board of Trustees passed the new policy is that it wanted to send a message to our students, staff, and reservation citizens of its great concern that tobacco use causes major health problems with Indian people,” says OLC President Thomas Shortbull.

“Due to one of the highest uses of tobacco among racial groups, Indian people have a higher incidence of lung cancer, heart trouble, and other tobacco-associated illnesses among Indian people.” says Shortbull.

“Our college has responsibility to its graduates to not only provide them with a fine education but also put them on the path of a healthy lifestyle.” Shortbull says.

In its effort to reduce tobacco use, Oglala Lakota College applied for and received a $25,000 grant from the Tobacco Prevention Program with the South Dakota Department of Health.

The funding will be used to have tobacco cessation workshops with the OLC students.

For information, contact Thomas Shortbull at (605) 455-6020 or Marilyn Pourier, OLC development director, at (605)-455-6045.

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