Oct. 9, 2002
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Campus Smoking Policy Changes

A campus-wide survey last semester has resulted in changes to NMU's smoking policy, according to Ken Chant (Public Safety and Police Services). Changes include improved signage for non-smoking and designated smoking areas and the removal of ash trays from the doorways of university buildings.

“The policy has always stated that smoking should be done 30 feet from the doorways, but this didn’t happen when we had ashtray-type garbage bins right next to the building doors,” said Chant, who chaired the university’s ad hoc smoking committee. "That was the top response to the survey."

Additionally, 16 sites across campus have signs indicating that they are designated smoking areas.

“People should be able to easily spot the smoking areas by those signs and the ‘genie- in-a-bottle’ type disposal bins next to them,” said Carl Pace (Facilities).

The designated smoking areas include:
• north entrance of the Heating Plant
• former transportation entryway to the Services Building
• doorway nearest Room 124 of the Jacobetti Center
• entrance on the press box side of the Superior Dome
• entrance nearest room 159 of the PEIF
• entrance closest to the Izzo Mariucci Academic Center, facing the small parking lot behind the Berry Events Center
• Cohodas entrance facing Presque Isle Avenue on the far right side
• entrance nearest room 109 of Carey Hall
• doorway in the University Center-Gries Hall connector that faces Kaye Avenue
• entrance nearest room B-101 of Thomas Fine Arts
• doorway closest to room 105 of Jamrich
• entrance nearest to room 1307 of the New Science Facility
• doorway closest to room 122 of Magers Hall.

“None of the designated smoking areas are main building entrances nor are they near an air intake vent,” Pace said. “On the other hand, most of the designated smoking areas have at least some amount of protective covering from the outdoor elements.”

Three entrances have been designated as “no smoking” areas:
• the entrance to Gries Hall facing Seventh Street
• the south wall of Thomas Fine Arts
• the patio on the north side of Learning Resources Center.

All other university building entrances allow smoking 30 feet from the doorway.

“We tried to be as fair as possible to everyone and respect the rights and needs of both individuals who smoke and those who don’t and wish not to be exposed to cigarette or cigar smoke," Chant said. "By knowing where the designated smoking and non-smoking areas are, those on campus who are particularly sensitive to smoke can avoid coming into direct contact with it when going to and from class or their office.”

Chant said the committee on campus smoking encourages students, faculty and staff to provide feedback on the smoking and non-smoking designations. Comments can be sent to Advancement Gateway under the "suggestions and concerns" link.

Students Use Work Study Off Campus

Four Marquette non-profit organizations are reaping the benefits of a Northern Michigan University pilot program that allows students to apply federal work study to off-campus positions.

The agencies are able to secure additional help for a fraction of the usual cost. In exchange, NMU students are offered more diverse employment choices, the opportunity to pursue jobs that may be more closely related to their chosen field, and a chance to make a contribution to the local community.

“It has worked out great so far,” said Rhea Dever (JOBSearch Center). “We’re not breaking new ground; it’s fairly standard at other universities. But the agencies like it because they typically have tight budgets for personnel. Sometimes they can’t even afford part-time help. Now they’re able to hire someone with enthusiasm and desire – maybe even a career interest in that area – for 25 cents on the dollar. It’s a very good proposition and a number of organizations have expressed an interest in the program.”

Those participating this year include Child and Family Services, Lutheran Social Services, the Medical Care Access Coalition and AMCAB Headstart Program.

“The agencies themselves are the employers,” she added. “They make all of the hiring decisions and determine pay scales. Northern will reimburse them in work study funds for 75 percent of gross wages, up to a maximum of $5,000 per agency.”

Dever said the program came about through a combination of two factors: a number of students had expressed a desire to use work study off campus; and the NMU JOBSearch Center had been looking for ways to develop more employment opportunities for students, some of which might be more relevant to their academic majors. The pilot program provides a mechanism to achieve both goals. Dever said five students have found jobs with four community organizations.

ASNMU Collecting Yogurt Lids

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and ASNMU is collecting pink lids from Yoplait yogurt cups as part of the national “Save Lids to Save Lives” fundraising campaign. Yoplait will make a 10-cent donation for each lid received to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

ASNMU will be collecting lids for the remainder of the fall semester. President Carissa Waters said student government became involved after a proposal was submitted by Ryan Lamott, a junior physical education major whose mother is a breast cancer survivor. She has spent the last 15 years supporting other breast cancer victims and bringing awareness to the disease.

“So far we have only collected a handful of tops, but we are still working on publicity,” Waters said. “We plan to work with elementary schools and Marquette General Health Systems to make this a community-wide effort.”

The Student Affairs Committee is in charge of the project and is working with Lamott in the endeavor.

Hands-on Sabbatical Will Benefit Students

During her 10-month sabbatical at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Suzanne Williams (Chemistry) was exposed to the process of getting new pharmaceuticals from the laboratory to market. She also became familiar with state-of-the-art instruments that will allow her to design experiments for NMU students and for her own research projects.

To set up the sabbatical, Williams contacted the head of a laboratory investigating potential drug candidates for HIV. Based in the Biology Department at Johns Hopkins, this lab has a contract with a pharmaceutical company.

“HIV virus proteins mutate often and change form so they are always looking for new drugs that will trigger the right response,” she said. “I used thermodynamics to study drug binding to virus proteins. In order for a drug and protein to interact effectively, they need favorable energy. The principles of energy flow dictate the success of a drug.”

Williams used a calorimeter to measure heat exchanges. NMU had recently obtained two of these instruments (she is pictured with one above), so Williams was eager to gain some hands-on expertise in their function and capabilities – expertise she could share with students and colleagues.

“I approached this sabbatical with a focus on the equipment and how to design experiments using the equipment,” Williams said. “While I was at Hopkins, progress was made towards a new drug. A molecule was designed that, in theory, would work as a drug against an HIV protein.”

Scientists in Tokyo then synthesized the drug molecule and sent it back to Johns Hopkins to test its interaction with the viral protein.

“It was a great experience,” Williams said. “I learned a lot about the equipment and what’s involved in the process of developing drugs for HIV and other diseases. I plan to share as much as I can with my students because they love examples of the practical applications of what they are learning here.”

Bookstore Offers AQIP Discount

Nearly 74 percent of Northern faculty and staff – 866 of 1,178 – completed the online Academic Quality Improvement Process (AQIP) survey. Based on the participation rate, the NMU Bookstore is offering employees a 35 percent discount on NMU-imprinted items through Oct. 12 as part of Employee Appreciation Week. Eligible items include clothing, caps and other memorabilia bearing the university logo or name. The discount can only be used for one trip to the cash register, but for as many items as desired.

The next step in the AQIP self-evaluation process for reaccreditation is a campus-wide conversation on Friday, Nov. 1, in the Superior Dome. Look for more details in the Oct. 23 issue of CAMPUS.