Peralta Community College District's Only Student-Run Publication
Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Peralta Community College District's only student-run publication.

The Citizen

Abigail McMurry, Acting President of Associated Students of Laney College, spoke against last-minute class cancellations at the May 14 Board of Trustees meeting.
Class cancellations, basic needs, and 'flying pigs' at 5/14 meeting for PCCD Trustees
Ian Waters, News Editor • June 1, 2024
Student Trustee Natasha Masand believes her voice has the power to impact the PCCD community.
Student Trustee Natasha Masand finds her voice
Isabelly Sabô Barbosa, Social Media Editor • March 19, 2024
Archives
Melanie Dixon appointed CoA President
Melanie Dixon appointed CoA President
After two years of acting appointments, the College of Alameda will finally fill the presidency with a permanent hire this summer
Ivan Saravia, Staff Writer • May 23, 2024
College of Alameda jazz professor Glen Pearson demonstrates his musical talent on his classroom piano. Hes one of the newest members of the Count Basie Orchestra, a historic 18-piece jazz ensemble that took home a Grammy this year.
The humble Grammy-winning pianist leading CoA’s music program
Desmond Meagley, Staff Writer • March 4, 2024
Archives

    Merritt Tobacco-less Club receives $20k national grant [UPDATED]

    Merritt College achieved another victory in the war on smoking, winning a $20,000 grant from the American Cancer Society and CVS Health Foundation’s Tobacco Free Generation Campus Initiative (TFGCI), a program to end smoking on college and university campuses.
    The 20 schools chosen for the new $3.6 million multi-year program were announced on Nov. 14. Participants will receive technical assistance and resources to help them in their education, communication, prevention and advocacy efforts towards stopping smoking.
    Marlene Hurd, president of the Tobacco-less Club at Merritt, has led the effort against smoking since starting the club in 2014. She will be in charge of putting the grant money into action over the next 12 months.
    One of the actions includes the Fresh Air art contest. Students from any Peralta college can participate by designing anti-tobacco visual art pieces. The winning pieces will be made into posters and put up at Peralta campuses. (The deadline for submissions is 2 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, with a signed entry form.)
    Hurd was instrumental in the attaining the grant, though she would not admit this. Anita Johnson, president of the Associated Students of Merritt College was happy to congratulate her:
    “We are so proud of Marlene and all her accomplishments. She never takes credit for anything that she does, and she should.”
    Hurd was driven to start the club when she experienced a severe reaction from exposure to secondhand vaping smoke on campus that almost caused a heart attack. When recalling the event, she becomes visibly upset.
    Pauline Bondonno, project director for the Community Health Education Institute, who applied for the grant, found in a survey that 80 percent of students at Laney College and Merritt encounter secondhand smoke even though both campuses have strict smoking policies. She said that people have the right to breathe fresh air. For complete background on CHEI Dir. Bondonno’s role see update below.

    Tobacco-less

    The first Tobacco-less Club was founded in 2011 at Berkeley City College, and it became a model for the clubs started at Laney and Merritt.
    In 2012, the Peralta Community College District approved Administrative Procedure 3570 Smoking, prohibiting smoking in all indoor and outdoor campus locations.
    It states that Berkeley City College and Laney College have no designated smoking areas, and College of Alameda, Merritt College, and the District Administrative Center Offices have limited designated smoking areas. Violation of these smoking procedures are subject to fines of up to $100.
    Thanks to the initial actions and concerns of the Tobacco-less clubs, on March 15, 2016, Peralta Chancellor Jowel Laguerre updated administrative procedure 3570, prohibiting smoking to include the use of vaping products, like e-cigarettes.
    “Our goal is to create a safe and healthy environment for all our students and staff,” he said. “Secondhand emissions from ‘vaping’ devices contain toxins and have no place on our campuses.”
    On Nov. 17, Hurd and the Tobacco-less Club hosted the Great American Smoke Out, a national event to educate and motivate people to quit smoking.
    She said the response was positive, and the event was a success. She commented on feeling great energy and support.
    Indeed, the support was real and inspiring for Hurd and her quest for clean air.
    She called out many others who have helped to support her cause along this journey, including the Associated Students of Merritt College; the Unity Club; the Inter Club Council; Merritt College Student Health Center; Allied Health; and the Community Health Education Institute.
    Together, they are forging a healthier future, and this most recent victory is proof.

    Update:
    This article failed to identify Pauline Bondonno, executive director of Community Health Education Institute, as the person in charge of putting the grant money into effect over the next 12 months.
    Bondonno has headed tobacco prevention programs at Merritt College for the past two years, through grants from the California Department of Health and, previously, through the Alameda County Health Services Tobacco Prevention Program.
    She created the Fresh Air Art Contest, and has worked to further tobacco prevention and awareness at Merritt College, Laney College, and College of Alameda for the past five years, and at Berkeley City College for the past 11 years.
    She was responsible for writing the grant to have e-cigarettes banned in the district, which they now are, and she most recently wrote a winning grant for College of Alameda to make it a smoke-free campus.

    About the Contributor
    In the fall of 2019, The Laney Tower rebranded as The Citizen and launched a new website. These stories were ported over from the old Laney Tower website, but byline metadata was lost in the port. However, many of these stories credit the authors in the text of the story. Some articles may also suffer from formatting issues. Future archival efforts may fix these issues.  
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