LiveWell Finney County Health Coalition Executive Director Callie Dyer addressed the Garden City Community College Board of Trustees Tuesday, asking them to consider making the campus smoke- and tobacco-free.

Dyer spoke in the open comments portion of the meeting, saying the option to make the campus smoke- or tobacco-free has not been surveyed by the student government since 2013, and she urged them to consider it again. The college’s smoking and tobacco policy currently allows use in seven designated areas.

Dyer singled out trustees Blake Wasinger, a chiropractor, and Teri Worf, an ARNP, saying as healthcare providers they know how important a non-smoking environment is for students’ and staff’s health. Trustee Merilyn Douglass, also an ARNP, was absent Tuesday.

“Sorry to call you out...” she said, as board members laughed. “But the trend is not to be (a smoking campus), and we are a community that is trying to be healthier.”

In a separate interview after the meeting, Dyer said she was fighting for the campus to be completely free of the practices for many reasons, including the intent to curb addiction in young people. She argued that the local law states that a person must be 21 to buy or possess tobacco, and many students at the two-year college would be under that age. To her, banning smoke and tobacco on campus takes a stand in support of the law.

Dyer said she had received little feedback from the school on the matter, the most notable being an email from GCCC President Herbert Swender saying he believed the college could be “at minimum, a smoke free campus, and strive toward a 'tobacco free' campus in time.”

To Dyer, a merely smoke-free campus is not enough.

She said she sent the college information on a grant from the Truth Initiative that could have given $20,000 to fund a tobacco-free college program. Dyer said the plan could have involved student government making a positive change at the campus, but that the school missed the grant’s 4 p.m. deadline on Tuesday.

“...  I hated to see that opportunity go away. But I can’t make them do it, so I guess I will try other avenues,” Dyer said.

In other business:

• The board approved a bid of $298,375 from DV Douglass of Garden City for roof replacements at four facilities: the Dennis B. Perryman Athletic Complex east roof, Penka building north roof, John Collins Vocational Building south roof and Pauline Joyce Fine Arts Building west roof.

 

Contact Amber Friend at afriend@gctelegram.com.