Student Ambassadors Help Keep UCR Smoke/Tobacco-Free

Since January 2014, UC Riverside has been a smoke and tobacco free campus

Alondra Hernandez is part of the UCR Smoke/Tobacco-Free Policy’ Clearing the Air Ambassador Program. She is part of an 18-member student volunteer team who are charged with canvassing the campus, offering cessation resources to staff, faculty, and students seen taking a cigarette break. sandra baltazar martinez

Alondra Hernandez volunteers her time on campus for a purpose she firmly believes in: healthy living for everyone.

That is why she signed up for the UCR Clearing the Air Ambassador Program. She is part of a student volunteer team charged with canvassing the campus and offering cessation resources to those seen smoking on campus.

Hernandez, a 20-year-old biology major, plans to become a doctor. That’s why promoting a policy that protects peoples’ health, including from second hand smoking, is important to her.

“I want to remind them, inform them of risks to themselves and the risk to others around campus,” Hernandez said. Every person she has approached is polite and receptive, she said.

UC Riverside has been a smoke and tobacco free campus since 2014. The policy bans all forms of tobacco products, including e-cigarettes. It is just one part of the Healthy Campus Initiative designed to shift campus culture towards health and well-being.

When Clearing the Air Ambassadors approach smokers on campus, they do so simply to remind them of the policy, but not to punish or reprimand, said Nicole Collins, UCR Wellness Program specialist. She is seeking for more volunteers, the goal is to have at least 25 students who can serve during the winter quarter.

According to Hernandez, the most popular responses are:

“I wasn’t aware of the policy” or “I apologize.” One person did proactively ask for resources to quit smoking, she said.

In order to promote the ambassador program, students volunteer a minimum of one hour per week during the quarter. They receive no formal payment, but can earn about $150 in dining dollars, Collins said.

For Hernandez, the volunteer opportunity compensates at different levels of her student life, she said.

“It’s a good experience because you learn to approach different situations where you don’t know how people are going to react,” Hernandez said. “Plus, I’ve improved my public speaking skills.”

List of resources:

  • www.tobaccofree.ucr.edu
  • The Well, HUB 248; (951)827-9355
  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) location: Veitch Student Center, North Wing, (next to the Student Health Center in Parking Lot 15); (951)827-5531
  • Faculty & Staff Assistance Program (FSAP); (951)781-0510
  • California Smokers’ Helpline: 1-800-NO-BUTTS

For staff and faculty:

  • Health Plan Benefits:
– Many of the UC’s benefit programs offer services to members to help them quit;
  • Free confidential service provides assessment, counseling and stress management services;
  • One-on-One Smoking/Tobacco Cessation.

Do you know someone who might be interested in becoming a student ambassador? Contact Nicole Collins: nicole.collins@ucr.edu; 951-827-5082.

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-2653
E-mail: SandraB.Martinez@ucr.edu

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