On August 24, 2016, LOOP Leadership Development Program (LDP) Fellow and President of the Merritt College Tobacco Less Club, Marlene Hurd, organized the screening of the film, “Addiction Inc.” The film was followed by a panel discussion which included experts from the African American Tobacco Control Leadership Council (AATCLC), The LOOP, and two students from Merritt College. Attendees were surprised to learn about the tobacco industry’s targeting of African American communities, specifically around menthol use. Since the airing of the film and panel discussion, students have joined campus advocacy efforts focused on making Merritt College a 100% smoke free campus. Merritt, along with other Peralta Colleges, was able to amend its smoking policy to include e-cigarettes in the Spring of 2016. Learn more here. Currently, Merritt College has designated smoking areas, but still has challenges with smokers on campus, butt litter, and smoking around the daycare center and bus stop.
Another goal that Marlene’s campus organization achieved was to receive a $5,000 grant from the Truth Initiative’s 2015-2016 Smoke-Free Tobacco-Free Community Grant Initiative. Additionally, the group has a Peralta Radio show through which they have created several public service announcements educating the public about tobacco.
Regarding The LOOP Leadership Development Program, Marlene stated, “with all the training and support I have received as a LOOP Fellow, it has helped me expand my knowledge in the areas of doing grant related policy work, mobilizing our community and becoming a Tobacco Prevention Advocate.” Marlene currently serves as a 2016-2017 Student Advisory Board member with Campuses Organized and United for Good Health (COUGH) and a 2016 member of the Alameda County Tobacco Control Leadership board and their Policy Committee.
The LOOP collaborates with Community Youth Advocacy Network (CYAN), which has an initiative that focuses on making California community colleges smoke-free. As an LDP Fellow, Marlene will be able to access CYAN for additional resources, especially, for example, when it comes to enforcing Merritt College’s existing policy