The dismal three areas designated for smokers on campus are about to get a facelift.Immediate plans to upgrade the smoking sites were discussed Tuesday by the reconstituted Health and Safety Committee.
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The dismal three areas designated for smokers on campus are about to get a facelift.

Immediate plans to upgrade the smoking sites were discussed Tuesday by the reconstituted Health and Safety Committee.

According to committee Co-chair Dr. Kent Yamauchi, the committee aims to revamp these smoking areas and “leave something to desire, if you are a smoker, in terms of making it a comfortable place.”

Facilities Service Supervisor Sarah Flores will be temporarily upgrading these areas and making them as aesthetically pleasing as possible, she said. Each area will be made uniform, given trash receptacles, potted plants, graded terrain; excess cigarette butt cans will be removed, and foreign plants will be weeded.

Flores explained that these plans will suffice “until something more permanent comes up.” She estimated that these modifications will be completed by Aug. 24, just in time for Welcome Day.

Permanent upgrades are still in the planning stages. In the long term, the committee aims to remedy these rough spots by planting vegetation, as well as building overhead shade to make the areas attractive, and most of all comfortable.

The committee hopes to turn this project into a community effort. “[We hope] to have a collaborative or cooperative arrangement with PCC’s construction department [and botany classes]…which will also allow the students in [these] particular programs to contribute to the campus,” Yamauchi said.

In the meantime, the committee is working to raise awareness of district policy that prohibits outdoor smoking on District owned property, except in designated areas.

Committee Co-chair Jo Buczko explained that the committee started meeting only in May, and is in the process of discussing creative and friendly ways to enforce the policy. Buczko said the committee is working towards creating an educational campaign to alert people about the policy and to try to decrease mixed messages on campus.

“We want to make clear in message that our campus is smoke free, which means that smoking is allowed in designated areas only,” Buckzo said. Yamauchi elaborated: “Rather than being punitive and give citations, we want to do our best to inform people about our policy. We want to make the areas attractive [and comfortable] so as to not make smokers feel like second-class citizens,” he said.

The “no smoking within 20 feet of the buildings” signs situated around campus have been updated. Alongside these signs, a campus map marked with the designated smoking areas also will also be installed.

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