Students display tombstones in front of DUC to get people to take smoking survey

Joanna Williams

Students walking past Downing University Center early Wednesday afternoon saw tombstones on the lawn and a student dressed as a pack of cigarettes.

The displays were an effort to get students to fill out a survey expressing their feelings on a campus-wide smoking ban.

The survey was a project of senior political science students working on their senior capstone project.

Madisonville senior Jack Jackson, who is part of that group, said the purpose of the survey was to help the Student Government Association make a decision on whether or not to support a smoking ban on campus.

“They have been pressured to get some sort of legislation and we’re just helping them,” Jackson said.

The 44 paper tombstones represented the 44 people in Kentucky who die each day from smoking-related illnesses, said Nashville senior Rachel King, another member of the political group.

The tombstones and person in a cigarette costume were meant to attract attention so students would fill out the survey and wasn’t meant to change people’s opinions, King said.

“Our ultimate goal for this is to get students to be critically engaged with their campus communities,” she said. “And also after college.”

Jackson said the group plans to have the results of the survey into SGA by April 22.

The survey featured nine questions, including whether or not participants used tobacco products and whether or not they support a campus-wide smoking ban.

Despite the chilly afternoon weather, King said that the number of people participating was high.

“It’s been really good,” she said. “During the lunch breaks we were running out of clipboards. And we’ve got a fifty, fifty on smokers and non-smokers so that’s good for the survey.”

King said the goal was to get 400 surveys and they had nearly met their goal. She said they might also visit classrooms and conduct surveys there in order to reach their goal.

Kathryn Drye, a sophomore from Murfreesboro, Tenn. who took the survey, said she thinks the goal of a smoking ban is good, but she’s skeptical on how well it would work.

“I don’t know how effective it will be,” she said. “It’s a very hard addiction to get rid of. You can assign designated smoking area’s but people are still going to smoke.”

Check Friday’s Herald for more on this story.