The university authorities have laid down various rules to solve the issues faced by students, that of smoking in the campus being one major issue. But one can often come across students facing the same evil going rampant against the rules which are meant to restrain it. One of the students who have had borne the issue of smoking in the PU campus is Sukhwinder Singh, doing Masters from Department of Human Rights, but unlike many, did not keep himself from rising in common interest against the odds. And this is how he came up with #SmokingFreeCampus.
Finding a back-end to this campaign which stirred PU and attracted overwhelming support, it all started when Sukhwinder was passing through the corridors of his hostel, one evening, and entered into an argument with another student. While this might seem a normal college scene, what is the turner of this experience is that the argument was over Sukhvinder asking the student to smoke somewhere else, to which he refused. He then thought about other students facing the same problem and took upon himself the task to put an end to smoking in the campus.
Sukhwinder, while talking to PU Mirror, mentioned that tobacco products are being freely sold at Gate 1 which is front of PGIMER. Between two very prestigious establishments, there is sale of tobacco products which ruins the environment totally.
Sukhwinder did not leave any medium to make his initiative reach out. A ‘Smoking Free Campus PU‘ Facebook page was made by him which gathered a huge support, also #SmokingfreeCampus was used to spread awareness. Connecting with Sukhwinder’s initiative, many party members joined Sukhwinder on 19th September 2017 at StuC, not as representatives of any student party but as students of the university which deserves a smoking free environment, to stand together for this problem. Around 60 students gathered then took a small march from StuC to VC office. The students presented a memorandum for a smoke-free campus to Mr. Arun Kumar Grover, the Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University. The memorandum listed various demands from students that need to be taken care of. One of the main demands was to have a panel to look into these matters; while the choice of composing it of teachers or students was left open, the priority was clearly expressed in favour of the panel composed of both. The students also expressed how strict actions against students, teachers and any other person for that matter should be taken who smoke in the campus.
On September 20, 2017 taking the #SmokingFreeCampusPU campaign forward, 50 members of SOI (Student Organisation of India) were present for the smoke free campus campaign. An official step has been taken for the welfare of the students so as to ensure a healthy environment for the students of Panjab University. There was a demand of strict policies and rules so as to ascertain a smoking free healthy campus. Also a member of the party ensured that more steps would be taken for the well being of the students.
A legal step has been taken by the students of PU and in acknowledgment of these, steps should be taken by the authorities. But, what is more important is that the students understand that it is their duty to make the campus, the place they look up to gain value, smoke-free.
About the Author:
I’m a human being. I make mistakes. I’m flawed. We all are.