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President Barron Announces Creation Of Smoke-Free Task Force

President Eric Barron announced today the official formation of a task force that will explore making Penn State a smoke-free and tobacco-free university. The task force is President Barron’s third since taking office in 2014, preceded by the Sexual Assault and Greek Life task forces.

Penn State student governments have been working for years to make campus smoke-free and efforts ramped up significantly recently when UPUA’s 10th assembly released a 20-page report outlining current smoking habits both at Penn State and around the Big Ten, as well as survey results and analysis. Nine of the 14 Big Ten schools currently have smoke-free or tobacco-free policies.

Last fall, Faculty Senate passed a resolution supporting the creation of a smoke-free task force, which UPUA also endorsed and was significantly supported by both parties. UPUA also received a $20,000 grant in November to work on the smoke-free initiative at Penn State, however that money can only be used for educational and advocacy-related efforts.

The task force Barron created consists of 17 members from various offices and groups, including:

  • Salah Almokadem, assistant professor and physician in the College of Medicine
  • Renee Borromeo, senior instructor of physical therapy at Penn State Mont Alto and Faculty Senate Committee on Faculty Benefits chair
  • Steven Branstetter, associate professor of biobehavioral health in the College of Health and Human Development
  • Ionut (John) Ilie, facilities coordinator for the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology and University Staff Advisory Council chair
  • JeanMarie Jacob, assistant director for Client Services Management at World Campus and University Staff Advisory Council chair-elect
  • Matt Krott, GPSA representative
  • Mukund Kulkarni, Penn State Harrisburg chancellor
  • Linda LaSalle, associate director of educational services for University Health Services
  • Rachel Miller, CCSG Chief of Staff
  • Paula Milone-Nuzzo, dean of the College of Nursing
  • Charlie Noffsinger, assistant vice president for University Police and Public Safety
  • Heather Robbins, manager of News and Media Relations in the Office of Strategic Communications
  • Susan Rutan, senior director of labor and employee relations in the Office of Human Resources
  • Robert Segura, assistant director of Environmental Health and Safety in the Office of Physical Plant
  • Alex Shockley, UPUA Speaker of the Assembly
  • Gregory Stoner, senior director of compensation and benefits in the Office of Human Resources
  • *A second Faculty Senate representative will be added


“Making Penn State a smoke-free/tobacco-free university has been discussed with increasing frequency over the years, and I’m pleased to now appoint a task force to examine the issue in detail and make recommendations,” Barron said in the release. “Smoke-free initiatives have been supported more and more nationwide, and the results of student-led efforts here demonstrate the need to evaluate our own policies. The health of our faculty, staff, and students is a top priority for the university.”

College of Nursing Dean Paula Milone-Nuzzo will chair the Task Force, which will begin meeting this month and continue to meet consistently to compile and provide a list of recommendations to President Barron.

About the Author

Lexi Shimkonis

Lexi is an editor-turned-staff writer who can often be found at either Irving's or the Phyrst (with the chances she'll have her backpack being the same). Lexi is a senior hailing from Spring City, PA (kind of) and studying Civil Engineering. Please email questions and/or pleas for an Instagram caption to [email protected], or for a more intimate bond, follow her on Twitter @lexshimko.


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