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Smoking policy changes discussed by Community Senate
Continued from page I
on community relations.
Patchouli Oerther, vice president
of student senate, said that she
understands eliminating cigarette
smoke and the inevitable litter that
incurs in these central parts of campus.
She stated her advice to students
would be to give smokers spaces large
enough where they can still sit down
and feel comfortable.
"Rifts in the community are not
necessary," said Oerther. "Creating a
circle is always a good thing. It makes
it more possible for people to socialize."
Many students believe that bringing
back gazebos comparable in size to the
ones that were removed would solve a
lot of problems.
"I think it is really silly that the
general smoking areas are in obscure,
inaccessible locations," said senior
Many prospective changes have
been brought up, such as an additional
smoking area near Founders and
a smoking shelter near the lake.
Discussion of revising the policy in
regards to the North apartments is also
While there is still room for
change and discussion in the policy.
the prospect of moving towards a
completely smoke-free campus is "still
on the table," according to Fetrow.
Community Senate held a follow
up meeting with Fetrow in attendance
Sept. 8 to discuss practical solutions to
student concerns about the smoking
Senate discussed problems and
possible solutions with the proposed
Sarah-Janna Nodell, a resident
advisor, put forth the idea of North
apartment and Hodgins residents
signing porch agreements similar
to the roommate agreement forms
that are signed upon move-in. These
would allow individual apartments to
determine their own smoking policy.
Senate plans to continue the
discussion at next weeks community
Nodell wishes more students would
come to the meetings with their
concerns. Nodell also states that the
policy is, "still very much a work in
"All we want is a little bitty spot
where we can smoke a cigarette on our
break," said Lois Conrad, a member of
the Guilford dining staff for 25 years.
The policy was set in motion by
the board of trustees and senior staff
members in response to complaints
from students, visitors, and faculty.
. Last year a campus-wide Healthy
Minds survey was conducted. Of the
700 respondents, 60 percent requested a
stricter tobacco policy.
Guilford's restricted smoking policy
is also in line with local trends. In May
2009, N.C. passed a smoking ban which
makes smoking in restaurants and bars
Local colleges such as Elon University,
Bennett College, and UNCG have also
tightened up on smoking regulations.
The smoking policy will be
implemented through verbal and
written warnings, which will culminate
in a Level 1 Sanction if students do not
comply. A likely consequence would
be picking up cigarette butts or other
forms of community service.
It is still unclear how the college
will negotiate the divide the revised
smoking policy has caused among
"It's sort of like this," said Edghill.
"Tm paying $40 thousand a year to go
here. How dare you tell me what to
"It's a much nicer place to be now,"
said Chaimaa Azizbi, a sophomore and
Business major. "I think we look better,
Community Senate has established goals for 2010-11. These
include building community by empowering students and en
suring that students feel that Senate represents their voice and
interests, working to help students formulate and then support
ideas for policy changes and additions, ensure that numerous
perspectives and voices are heard, and coming to consensus by
listening and collaborating.
Senate hopes to serve students by increasing our accessibil
ity, inclusiveness, visibility, transparency, communication, ac
countability, and student involvement on campus.
Over the summer, we increased the library hours, improved
our Web page, helped implement wireless coverage (co-spon
sored by Senate), established short-term parking spots for stu
dents near Founders, and worked on sustainability efforts. We
had our first open reception on Wednesday, Aug. 25, to listen
to students. Ideas included creating a multipurpose room, re
forming conferences and events policies, increasing the blue
emergency lights, housing policies, the add-drop period, and
more student involvement in newly enforced policies such as
the smoking policy. This past Wednesday's meeting focused
on the second strategic long range plan, and student input on
designated smoking areas to accommodate the smoking policy.
We want to gain your trust and we will work to earn your
confidence. Please visit our Web page for more information
about this year's mission, vision, and goals: www.guilford.
edu/senate. Community Senate meetings are held every
Wednesday in Boren Lounge (Founders Hall) from 7:00-8:00
p.m. We want to hear from you.
President of Community Senate
Guilford helps first-years find home away from home
By Robert Bell
Ruth deButts sat in her Binford Hall dorm room
on a recent Wednesday evening with a decision to
make: study at the library or hang out with her fellow
floormates for a night of gossip and games.
Turns out it was an easy call - deButts stayed
home. No books, no research - just friends dishing
over Dominos and Connect Four.
"School never came up once," said deButts, a first-
year from Lincoln, Va. "We had a good time just
talking about ourselves, (our) lives, each other."
Now here is the rub: School officials could not have
been more delighted with deButts' decision.
DeButts and her friends were taking advantage
of a Guilford-sponsored game night, one of several
activities for first-year students participating in the
college's Living and Learning Communities.
The communities — 130 students living side by
side in various wings throughout Binford Hall —are
Guilford's latest effort to ease students into their first
year of college.
"It's a stressful time, to say the least," said Clay
Harsh aw, coordinator of Guilford's first-year
program. "It's not just academically, but socially that
some students have a hard time adjusting to. We want
to make that first year as smooth as possible."
Guilford's Living and Learning Communities
surround first-year students with students who are
taking the same FYE class.
When Lia Clark, a first-year hailing from
Greensboro, did not feel like studying for her Poverty
in America class recently, she got some prodding
from her floormates, who like Clark, are taking the
class and share rooms on the second floor of Binford.
"We're like a support group for each other," Clark
said. "If I'm feeling lazy someone will tell me, 'Do
your work.' Everyone looks after everyone."
"I really like my hallmates," said first-year Adam
Faust, "but I sometimes feel like I am missing out on
meeting other people since I am surrounded by the
same group all the time."
Guilford's efforts are hardly unique. Universities
and colleges across the country are struggling to
prevent first-year students from dropping out after
their first academic year.
The percentage of college freshmen who did not
return to the same college for their second year has
reached a record high, according to a 2009 survey
conducted by Iowa-based American College Testing,
a non-profit educational think- tank.
Forty-four percent of first-year college students
failed to return to that same college as sophomores
in the 2008-2009 academic year, according to the most
recent available data. That is the highest dropout
percentage since the organization began gathering
data in 1983.
Universities and colleges have long chalked up
rising drop-out rates as a fact of life or a testament
to the school s rigorous academics. But a sagging
economy that has chipped away at schools' financial
coffers has forced many schools to take an even closer
look at how to keep students and their tuition from
heading home for good.
True, schools don't like being in the position of
losing tuition, Harshaw said. "But it's more than
that. I think a lot of schools are realizing that while
they are doing a lot to help their students, there's so
much more they can be doing — should be doing."
Harshaw said Guilford's most recently recorded
dropout rate was 20 percent in 2008 — an improvement
from 32 percent in 2007. "That may be better than
other schools, but we're still not happy knowing
we're losing a significant number of students."
"Everyone is away from their families for the first
time, so we're like our own family now," said deButts.
"It's nice to have that close community to turn to."