No Butts About It: All 4 JWU Campuses Now Tobacco Free

JWU Providence Campus President Mim Runey (L) with Director of the RI Department of Health Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott (R)

As of Friday, July 1, 2016, all 4 of Johnson & Wales University’s campuses are officially tobacco free. Faculty, staff and students assembled on the lawn in front of the Yena Center on JWU’s Providence campus to celebrate becoming the first university in Rhode Island to become tobacco free. JWU joins approximately 1,100 other colleges and universities across the country.

Attendees heard from Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students Ron Martel, JWU Providence Campus President Mim Runey, Rhode Island Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, and Edyn Zapata, JWU Providence's Student Government Association secretary.

“This is a historic and memorable day for JWU as we celebrate the first day of being tobacco free,” Martel said.

Instituting a tobacco-free policy across all of JWU’s campuses didn't just happen overnight. This undertaking first began 3 years ago when President Runey put a concerned student in touch with the university’s student affairs office and things began taking off from there.

“This journey has been a little bumpy,” Runey admits, but notes that “the benefits will be many,” including healthier, cleaner, safer, and happier campuses.

Providence Campus outside of Yena Center

“I want to offer a big, heartfelt thank you and congratulations,” Alexander-Scott said. “Thank you for being a leader and setting an example for other colleges and universities to follow. There's nothing like being able to say you're the first [in Rhode Island]!”

Meanwhile, in Denver...

JWU’s Denver Campus also celebrated going tobacco free on Friday. Faculty and staff joined together to collect cigarette butts across campus during their “No Butts About It” event.

“This is a major step forward for the [Denver] campus and for Johnson & Wales as an institution,” JWU Denver Campus President Richard Wiscott said in a Facebook Live appearance on Friday (watch below). “I am so proud that now all of us together are supporting this important initiative.”

Volunteers donned blue protective gloves and took off to different corners of campus to collect discarded cigarette butts. Photos from JWU Denver's event can be viewed on their Facebook page.

Four Campuses. One University. All Tobacco-Free.

JWU Providence and JWU Denver now join North Miami and Charlotte as tobacco-free campuses. JWU Charlotte, the first campus to implement this policy, did so on July 1, 2015, with JWU North Miami following suit on December 1, 2015.

Information about Johnson & Wales' tobacco-free policy (which includes electronic cigarettes and chewing tobacco), campus maps, and tobacco cessation resources can be found at JWU's Tobacco Free website.

Watch a video of the unveiling of JWU Providence’s tobacco free banner below.