Thursday, October 30, 2014

University of Melanoma

Today, the story about the research findings regarding tanning facilities on or near U.S. college campuses, is swirling around social media outlets…as it should! The study revealed some startling facts. The researchers stated this:

"The presence of indoor tanning facilities on and near college campuses may passively reinforce indoor tanning in college students, thereby facilitating behavior that will increase their risk for skin cancer both in the short term and later in life."

When I read that, I became quite curious about the goings on around my town…a university town..and actually one of the universities used in the study, as "researchers investigated the top 125 colleges ranked by U.S. News and World Report."

As many of you know, when my inquisitiveness gets flipped on, some form of action is soon to be taken.  And here's how that went:

1- A visit to an off campus apartment complex designed for students.

~The visit looked like this…me going directly to the gym facility..to find a tanning room right off the main workout area…a tanning booth, with "rules" on the side of the door, and no supervision, nothing to sign. Nothing.



2- An "interview" with the property reps about what I found in the gym.

~This exchange consisted of me asking two young women about the "amenities" of the complex, with a focus on how the tanning usage works.  I asked about waivers, information they give tenants, how they oversee this, etc. What I found out was this: you can "only" use the tanning bed once a day, for 15 minutes…that the office controls the ON/OFF of the machine, there is no info given about the risks of tanning, no signing of anything, and that most of the apartment communities around the university have tanning facilities.



When I read the brochure and saw that a "new tanning bed" was listed as a "LIVING" amenity, my first thought was, it should really be called a DYING amenity.

3- A phone call to the university's OneCard (student ID and payment card) office.

~This call revealed the fact that there are no tanning facilities ON campus (YAY!).

4- A Google search for local tanning salons, and phone calls to each to see if they take the OneCard.

~The search mapped out 6 tanning salons within the town.  I called each, asking if they take the student OneCard as payment for tanning.  All said no, BUT they do give student discounts (UGH!).

After all of this inquiring, the question out of my mouth was,"What can be done next?" (Yes, I talk to myself.  Often.) Well, the researchers stated, "Public health efforts are needed to raise university administration and student population awareness of the harms that indoor tanning poses to young adults in order to increase demand for policy-related action."  Yes, there's that…but that will take a lot of time…what about right now?  

On the bottom of the apartment brochure, I noticed what looked like an umbrella corporation, which oversees this community and many others.  Hmmmm.  I look it up...It's called American Campus Community, this huge company.  I know what I can do next…start calling and emailing this company about taking ALL tanning beds out of ALL of their  apartment communities.  Join me! It's a place to start.