The University of Maine at Presque Isle was recently recognized by the Maine Tobacco-Free College Network with a Gold Award as part of its Gold Star Standards of Excellence Recognition Program. The program celebrates the efforts of Maine institutions of higher education to address tobacco use on their campuses. This is the first time the University has received a Gold Award.
The Maine Tobacco-Free College Network, which is leading Maine’s efforts to strengthen campus tobacco policies and reduce tobacco use on college campuses, held a celebration in Bangor on March 19 to highlight the efforts of its 2014 award winners. Linda Mastro, Director of UMPI’s Health Center, accepted the award on behalf of the University.
UMPI was among a short list of seven universities across the state to be recognized for their achievements in advancing their campus tobacco-free policies and promoting tobacco-free lifestyles for their communities. Other campuses included Kennebec Valley Community College, University of Maine in Orono, University of Southern Maine, Northern Maine Community College, Unity College, and University of New England.
In addition to the Gold Award, Linda Mastro was recognized as a 2014 Gold Star Honoree for the work she does with both UMPI and NMCC. Only one other group, the Wellness Committee at Kennebec Valley Community College, received this honor. Mastro was recognized for her “steadfast efforts in the field of tobacco-free campuses in Maine.”
All Maine institutions of higher education, including colleges, universities, and technical schools were invited to participate in the Gold Star Standards of Excellence program. Award levels were based on best practice criteria such as tobacco-free campus policy, tobacco treatment information availability for students, faculty and staff, prohibiting tobacco product distribution on campus, and divestment of all tobacco investments.
Last year, UMPI announced its major effort to provide a healthy and productive work and learning environment for students, employees and visitors by moving to a Tobacco-Free Campus. UMPI’s Tobacco-Free Campus Policy went into effect on June 1, 2013.
According to its website, the Maine Tobacco-Free College Network is dedicated to providing Maine post-secondary learning institutions with the information and resources needed to make campuses smoke- and/or tobacco-free. The network formed in February 2002 as an outgrowth of collaboration between the University of Southern Maine, Healthy Maine Partnerships, Communities Promoting Health, and Healthy Portland.
For more information about the Maine Tobacco-Free College Network, visit its website atwww.mainetobaccofreecollegenetwork.org.