Zumberge Pond fountain lit in blue at twilight with carillon tower in background

Truth Initiative grant supports adoption, implementation of updated smoke-free policy

Grand Valley received a $20,000 grant from the Truth Initiative to adopt and implement a 100% tobacco/vape-free policy. The Truth Initiative is America's largest nonprofit public health organization dedicated to a future without nicotine or tobacco.

The grant, from the Tobacco/Vape-Free College Program, provides funding to more than 220 colleges and universities to advocate for and adopt a 100% tobacco-free policy.

Recently approved by Grand Valley's Senior Leadership Team, the revised tobacco policy calls for a one-year transition period to remove tobacco substances from all campuses, according to Patricia Smith, general counsel.

“During that interim period, the existing policy will still be in effect and enforced, with smoking cessation resources for those who want to quit as we approach the smoke-free status,” Smith said. 

Edward Jones II, director of Student Health Services, said public health students Brittany Snyder and Maya Neville and psychology student Uzal Rahmani wrote the proposal for the Truth Initiative grant. Jones and the Community Health Advisory Team (CHAT) introduced the three students to this project.

Rahmani said the grant money will be used to fund educational resources like pamphlets, meetings and websites to help campus community members quit tobacco products.

Snyder, a master’s in public health candidate, said, “It was something I wanted to do, branching out, getting exposed to other projects to make myself a better health professional, working with those who have more experience like Mr. Jones.” 

The students and CHAT committee produced a 30-page document that outlined a budget and action items to begin to remove nicotine and tobacco from Grand Valley's campuses.

“I have always had an interest in this topic during my health studies," Neville said. "Even my father has gotten cancer from heavy smoking a couple of times. I thought this was the perfect chance to learn more and to help others."

GVSU students involved in the grant proposal were invited by the Truth Initiative to attend a ceremony in Washington, D.C., along with awardees from other universities, earlier this month.

  – Thomas Garrett is a student writer for University Communications. Garrett, a native of Stevensville, is a senior who is majoring in writing.


Sign up and receive the latest Grand Valley headlines delivered to your email inbox each morning.