Northern Maine Community College has been recognized for meeting the gold level through the 2021 Gold Star Standards of Excellence program for efforts to prohibit smoking and tobacco use on campus. Courtesy of NMCC

PRESQUE ISLE – Northern Maine Community College is among 11 Maine institutions of higher education celebrated for leadership through an annual gold star standards of excellence program.

The annual Gold Star Standards of Excellence Institutions of Higher Education Awardees have been announced for 2021. The program of the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence’s Breathe Easy Initiative recognized 11 colleges, universities and career and trade schools for efforts to address tobacco use and secondhand smoke exposure. Celebrated organizations received a plaque for their achievements in advancing their campus smoke and tobacco-free policies as well as promoting tobacco-free lifestyles.

NMCC was recognized for meeting the gold level through the 2021 Gold Star Standards of Excellence program for efforts to prohibit smoking and tobacco use on campus. This was the 10th year NMCC has participated in the initiative showing a longstanding commitment to addressing tobacco use and exposure.

NMCC’s Dean of Students Dr. William Egeler stated, “NMCC is proud to once again be recognized for its leadership in reducing tobacco exposure in Maine and, in particular, on the NMCC campus.  Personal wellness is one of the foundations of individual success and a core component of the educational environment all of our academic programs operate within. We salute the other institutions across the state who have made similar commitments to wellness.”

All Maine institutions of higher education were encouraged to apply for recognition. This year marks the 10th annual Higher Education Gold Star Standards of Excellence Program.  Award levels are based on best practice criteria such as a smoke and tobacco-free campus policy, tobacco and vaping education and training, promoting smoke-free lodging and limiting tobacco advertising and funding. In 2021, all participating institutions of higher education were recognized at the silver and gold levels.

“We applaud the ongoing efforts of Maine colleges, universities and career and trade schools to address tobacco use, secondhand smoke exposure and nicotine dependence by meeting the Gold Star Standards of Excellence,” says Barbara Ginley of the MaineHealth Center for Tobacco Independence. “Participation highlights the commitment of institutions of higher education to providing as healthy and safe of an environment as possible for their students, faculty, staff and visitors.”

For more information about NMCC or any of the college’s 30-plus programs, please visit nmcc.edu.