Saturday, October 4, 2014

Peer Educators: We Save Lives!

As a sophomore, I became involved with a club on campus called Peer Educators, which has been an extremely rewarding experience. Peer Educators is a club that strives to improve the quality of student life at Fordham by encouraging positive behaviors on and off campus. Our goal is to decrease the harmful effects associated with the misuse and abuse of alcohol and other drugs. Fordham's Peer Educators are advised and trained by the Office of Substance Abuse Prevention and Student Support (OSAPSS). As a club, we provide accurate information to the student body so that students make informed and safe decisions. 

Peer Educators is split into three main committees: Substance and Alcohol Education (SAE), Marketing, and Passport. Each of these three committees plays a vital role in reaching out to the student body to provide accurate information and promote safe behaviors. 

We distributed water to Seniors for their first Senior Night
This year, I am a Co-Chairperson for the Substance and Alcohol Education Committee (SAE). As a committee, we have many important responsibilities. One of our biggest responsibilities is providing information on drugs and alcohol to freshmen for Core Programming, which is mandatory for all freshmen. We also have Student Awareness Days throughout the year to gauge student knowledge and usage of various substances, as well as to provide all students with information on the substance that we are focusing on for the particular Awareness Day. Additionally, we distribute water to students to encourage them to drink responsibly, which includes staying hydrated. This past Thursday, we handed out water to the Seniors who attended this semester's first Senior Night. We put labels with fun little phrases that encouraged safe drinking practices on every bottle of water.

The September poster this year
The Marketing Committee, like SAE, strives to spread knowledge to the student body about how to make safe and informed decisions. Each month, the Marketing Committee creates a poster that is posted in every building and all around campus. These posters give advice or facts to the students about a particular topic. We are usually able to determine the success of a particular poster campaign by seeing how many of the posters are taken by students. By the end of the month, there are usually very few posters still where they were posted because students take them and hang them in their dorm rooms. 

The Passport
Staten Island Ferry Excursion
Our third committee, the Passport Committee, plans free excursions for students. In September, I led an excursion to the Staten Island Ferry, which was a ton of fun. It was a beautiful day, and we had a great view of the Statue of Liberty from the Ferry. The Passport Committee is also responsible for creating the Passport, which is a great resource for students. The Passport is a small booklet that easily fits in a purse or a pocket that is filled with restaurants, entertainment, sightseeing locations, museums, sporting events, and anything else that students should know about in the city. Even as a junior, I still refer to my Passport whenever I want to do something in the city. 

I really love being a Peer Educator. We are a student-run organization that is focused on helping our fellow students. We are all Fordham students who want to encourage our peers to make safe and informed decisions both on and off campus. At one of our induction ceremonies, a Fordham Dean told us that we save lives. I am not sure if we have actually saved any lives with our work as Peer Educators, but I certainly feel like we are making a difference on campus. By simply distributing accurate information to students, we are making sure that students are not ignorant about the consequences of their actions. We cannot force anyone to make safe decisions, but we are making sure that they are informed decisions, which I consider to be invaluable.

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