By Tara Trevaskis Hoskin
Plans set out in the University’s sustainability strategy for 2020-25 to make NUI Galway a smoke-free campus by 2021 have been deferred to September of this year.
This particular action is part of the Health and Wellbeing section within the strategy and aims to prohibit smoking on campus.
The strategy states that the campus would become tobacco-free in 2021.
The pandemic has placed a strain on the completion of certain actions laid out by the sustainability strategy including a smoke-free campus.
The Health and Wellbeing group for the strategy have therefore made the decision not to implement this action until on-site activity begins again, which they are hoping will be in September of 2021.
NUI Galway’s Community and University Sustainability Officer Michelle O’Dowd Lohan explained that current restrictions have affected some of their other goals also.
Speaking to SIN she said, “This is the case with some of the other objectives in the strategy for example reducing food waste and improving recycling.”
She added that, “The focus of the Health and Wellbeing Strategy for now and the coming months is initiatives and actions in the area of mental health.”
The Mental Wellbeing strategy objectives within the strategy include creating a Mental Health Taskforce, implementing, reviewing, and updating the NUI Galway Mental Health Strategy, and ensuring that mental health is included within teaching curriculums along with other aims.
The strategy outlines one of its objectives as, “To improve the physical, social, sexual and mental health and wellbeing of not only the staff, faculty, and students who spend a significant amount of time in our care, but also their families and the wider community in which the university is located.”
Smoking has an extremely negative impact on people’s physical health and the strategy recognises this problem. Smoking can also create air pollution which is not only harmful to the environment but also to the physical health of those around smokers.
A copy of the National University of Ireland Galway Sustainability Strategy 2021-2025 can be found online at www.nuigalway.ie/sustainability/strategy.