June 25, 2021
The University of Maine at Fort Kent is pleased to be among 11 Maine Institutions of Higher Education Celebrated for Leadership through Annual Gold Star Standards of Excellence Program.
The Breathe Easy Initiative is a program of the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence. The program recognized eleven colleges, universities, and career and trade schools for efforts to address tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. Celebrated organizations received a plaque for their achievements in advancing their campus smoke and tobacco-free policies as well as promoting tobacco-free lifestyles.
UMFK was recognized for meeting the Gold Level through the 2021 Gold Star Standards of Excellence program for efforts to prohibit smoking and tobacco use on campus. Due to their campus policies and educational efforts surrounding tobacco use and exposure, UMFK was among four of the University of Maine System campuses to achieve this recognition.
"We are very proud of creating a smoke and tobacco-free environment for our faculty, staff and students," said UMFK's President Deb Hedeen. "As an institution of higher education, we have a responsibility to provide healthy lifestyle options that contribute to an individual's success in teaching, learning and working."
Award levels in the Higher Education Gold Star Standards of Excellence Program are based on best practice criteria such as a smoke and tobacco-free campus policy, tobacco and vaping education and training, promoting smoke-free lodging, and limiting tobacco adverting and funding. In 2021, all participating institutions of higher education were recognized at the silver and gold levels.
“We applaud the ongoing efforts of Maine colleges, universities and career and trade schools to address tobacco use, secondhand smoke exposure and nicotine dependence by meeting the Gold Star Standards of Excellence,” says Barbara Ginley of the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence. She continued, “Participation highlights the commitment of institutions of higher education to providing as healthy and safe of an environment as possible for their students, faculty, staff and visitors.”
The program is funded by Maine Prevention Services. Maine Prevention Services is an initiative through the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention working across the state to impact tobacco, substance use, and obesity.
For more information on UMFK’s Gold Star status or campus tobacco-use policies, please go to www.umfk.edu or call Kerri Watson-Blaisdell at (207) 834-7558.