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Tips for a Safe Spring Break

Adapted from an article that originally appeared in The Peer Educator magazine

After months of lectures, labs, projects, presentations, cramming sessions and exams, a spring break vacation is well deserved. But your students don’t deserve just any spring break; they deserve a safe spring break. Spring break is a time for students to pause and get rejuvenated before finishing out the academic year.

It’s important to remember that most students do not partake in the stereotypical “beach party” style of spring break. Many use the time to do a service project, visit family and friends, catch up on homework or projects, or work some extra hours at a job.

For those students who are planning a trip, help them stay safe and avoid unnecessary drama by educating them on the following topics before they hit the sand or slopes.

When prepping your campus for a safe spring break you will more than likely address the following topics: Alternative spring break ideas, alcohol poisoning, impaired driving and sexual health, tobacco use, sun safety and travel tips.

leadthebreak_logo darkAlternative Spring Breaks

Every year, thousands of students across the nation choose to devote their spring break vacations to helping others in need through service projects across the nation and internationally. Alternative spring breaks offer travel opportunities and cultural experiences, not to mention the positive impact on the communities being served by the volunteers. Many campuses are affiliated with organized alternative spring break programs, like Break Away. Break Away spends months helping students preparing for their experience by educating them about the social issues and the community in which they will be serving, while also teambuilding, fundraising, and planning logistics. See if your campus has an alternative spring break program or look into starting one to offer your students a life changing experience they will not soon forget.

* Remind your students to photograph their alternative spring break activities and post it to social media using #LeadTheBreak. Find more information on this great contest for your students at: leadthebreak.com

Alcohol Poisoning

High-risk drinking seems to be engrained into too many spring break traditions. While most students choose to party safe, strategies like pacing drinks to one per hour and eating throughout the night should be emphasized to avoid alcohol poisoning. This time of the year is also an opportune time to train students how to recognize the signs of alcohol poisoning and what to do for someone experiencing it.  Check out these resources available for purchase.

Safe Driving

Many students on a tight budget may opt for a road trip rather than expensive plane ride to their spring break destinations. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious issue, but look beyond just impaired driving. Be sure to expand your programming to include information on driving under the influence of other drugs, drowsy driving, distracted driving, and seatbelt use.

Activity Idea: Have peer educators wait by the car exits of campus with (tasty and healthy) snacks. As cars leave campus, the peer educators can reward those who are wearing seatbelts with a snack and give those not wearing it a kind reminder to buckle up. (Adapted from a Colorado Mountain College, Spring Valley Campus program)

Safer Sex and Sexual Assault Prevention

The philosophy of “What happens on spring break, stays on spring break” often comes into play when it comes to making choices about sexual activity on spring break. Students can avoid making poor choices that lead to lasting consequences like STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and emotional stress by being prepared, having a plan, and setting boundaries before going out. Additional tips for preventing sexual assault can be found here.

Tobacco Use

Spring break is a time to meet new people, explore new places, and try different things, but it is not time to pick up a potential lifelong addiction like smoking or using chew. Educate students about the harmful effects of tobacco use and its extremely addictive properties. This is a great time to educate about hookah, which is often viewed as an exotic but safe social activity. Many students do not realize they are smoking tobacco when they use a hookah or they believe the cooled smoke is safer to inhale. The truth is, smoking from a hookah can be even more dangerous than regular cigarette smoking due to the large volume of smoke inhaled, the long smoke “sessions” and the fact that a hookah can spread various communicable diseases through the mouthpieces that are often shared among several users.

Sun Safety

Want to know one way to ruin your spring break? Get burned on the first day. No one wants to be miserable and look like a lobster all vacation long, so remind students to be proactive and use sunscreen and lip balm with an SPF of at least 30 before going out in the sun to protect themselves from the UV rays that can cause skin cancer (and wrinkles!). Some students are hitting the slopes for a spring ski vacation; it might be chilly, but do not let them be fooled, the sun is shining even stronger at high altitudes and sunscreen is a must. Sunglasses or goggles are key to preventing the sun from taking its toll on the eyes as well.

Activity Idea: These UV-sensitive beads could be incorporated into a “make your own keychain or bracelet” table. The beads change colors when UV rays are stronger, reminding students to put on their sunscreen!

Travel Tips

Preparation is the secret to a safe and fun trip. Remind students to research their specific destination for safety information concerning hotels and hostels, renting a car or taking taxis, and food and water issues. Check out these safety and other useful travel tips.

Traveling by plane also requires some serious preparation. Remind travelers of the long list of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) requirements and other general rules for flying, like arriving early to the airport and necessary travel documents.

 
Spring break is not just a party or vacation for students; it is a chance for you to educate your students on serious and life-saving topics in a fun, light-hearted way. This year, get creative and encourage your students to live it up (responsibly) at Spring Break – they deserve it!

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Power Up Your Peer Ed Group at Spring Conferences

The BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA Area Conferences are a great opportunity for your peer education group to:

  • Get new program ideas on a variety of health & wellness issues relevant to working with college students
  • Gain new knowledge and skills to support your peer education efforts
  • Network with other peer educators & advisors
  • Learn how to revitalize, recruit and reenergize your organization
  • Learn more about how the BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA can support your efforts

Dates and Registration Links

Area 9: (Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, South Carolina)  Register Online!
Georgia Southwestern State University, Americus, Georgia, February 20 – 21, 2015
Contact: Kina Davis

Area 11 (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania) Register Online!
California University of Pennsylvania, California, Pennsylvania, February 28, 2015
Early Registration Deadline: February 20, 2015
Contact: Michael McNeil

Area 8 (Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee) Register Online!
Rhodes College, Memphis, Tennessee, March 27 – 28, 2015
Early Registration Deadline: March 13, 2015
Contact: Marianne Luther

Area 10 (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)  Register Online!
University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, March 29, 2015
Early Registration Deadline: March 6, 2015
Contact: Ryan Travia

Area 5 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska) Register Online!
Kansas City, April 9 – 11, 2015
Early Registration Deadline: March 27, 2015
Contact: Joan Masters

Area 7 (Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio) Register Online!
Saginaw Valley State University, Michigan, April 10 – 11, 2015
Early Registration Deadline: April 8, 2015
Contact: Regan Johnson

Area 4 (Illinois, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota) Registration Info Coming Soon!
Northern Illinois University, Dekalb IL, April 10 – 11, 2015
Contact: Eric Davidson

Area 12 (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia)
Registration Information Coming Soon!
Radford University, Radford Virginia, April 10 – 12, 2015
Contact: Aimee Hourigan

Areas 1, 2, 3 (Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, California, Nevada, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado) Registration Information Coming Soon!
Denver, April 17 & 18, 2015, University of Colorado, Denver
Contact: Triniti Halverson

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The Truth About Spring Break

A new academic term has just started on college and university campuses across the leadthebreak_logo darknation, and I am asking you to think about spring break! Although it may be many weeks away, students are already looking forward to the respite from academics, so it is time to begin planning how to help students have a safe spring break.

Over the years, media portrayals of students on spring break have been less than positive. A common misperception is that most students flock to warm beaches and engage in high-risk drinking during the week off from schoolwork. The truth actually is very different than the perception. Last year, a national survey of 18-22 year-old full-time college students revealed many students plan to work, volunteer, spend time with family, or catch up on studies over the break. It is time to change the negative perception of college students on spring break!

For the second year, the BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility will hold the second annual Lead the Break: Make It Safe social media campaign. It is a way for campuses to encourage all students to make healthy choices and to support students who choose positive outlets during the break from academics.

The goal of Lead the Break is to reach thousands of student leaders and advisors on hundreds of campuses and reward them for promoting the reality of spring break by posting an Instagram picture showcasing a responsible and productive spring break activity. Hosted on Lead the Break’s website, the effort will run from early March until April 15.

Join the #LeadtheBreak campaign

  • Post an image of yourself having a valuable and productive spring break to Instagram
  • Use the hashtag #LeadtheBreak and hashtag the name of your college or university
  • Get entered for a chance to win a cool prize plus a donation to your local BACCHUS chapter

The BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA is also offering a Safe Spring Break webinar on Feb. 3 from 2-3 p.m. EST to help provide peer educators and their advisors with resources to insure a healthy and safe break for students on their campus. Registration is free for the Lead the Break: Make it Safe webinar.

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Run for a Student Advisory Committee (SAC) Position!

This year at area spring conferences, campuses will select new SAC members to represent each area within the BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA. Below is everything you need to know about the position and how to run.

Student Advisory Committee Members Position Description

Students wishing to take an active role in the leadership of the BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA may run for positions on the Student Advisory Committee (SAC). The SAC works with the SAC Directors to build cohesion among affiliates, to gather information about affiliate activities for publication in regional and national BACCHUS materials, and to promote student interests in the actions of the BACCHUS Initiatives.

There is an SAC representative elected to represent each of the twelve regional areas. SAC members will travel to a designated city during the early months of their terms for training. SAC members will also travel to the annual General Assembly in the fall. Travel expenses are covered for both trips. It is also required that the SAC representative attend their area spring conference prior to the end of their term in office.

Duties of a Student Advisory Committee Representative

Networking
SAC representatives will stay connected with their peer education community. SAC representatives maintain a working relationship with one another, the SAC Directors, the National Staff, and their respective area consultant and area teams.

SAC representatives will interact with members beyond newsletter publication and area conferences. Representatives may choose to utilize e-mail, telephone calls, or personal visits (when appropriate) to connect with members. The area Facebook pages will also be used to enhance area unity and understanding of member concerns and issues.

Area Newsletters
SAC representatives will publish at least four area newsletters, via Constant Contact, to all members in the area, the BACCHUS Initiatives staff, and the other Student Advisory Committee representatives, and the SAC Directors. Content guidelines for full newsletters as well as quarterly deadlines are provided by the SAC Directors, but additional or alternative Constant Contact mailings may be sent after discussion with the area team. Newsletters will be composed in cooperation with respective area consultants and each area consultant will preview a newsletter draft before the e-mail is sent.

Conference Calls
SAC representatives will participate in conference calls, which will be scheduled by the SAC Directors on a monthly basis. SAC representatives should make every effort to be on these calls. SAC should give timely notice to the SAC Directors if they need to miss a call and are responsible for reviewing the content of the call notes as provided by the SAC Directors.

Reports
SAC representatives will publish and deliver the following reports to the SAC Director, who will forward them to the BACCHUS Initiatives staff as appropriate.

  • Year-in-Review Report, which will be completed prior to April 30th each year and will contribute to the incoming SAC meeting and training during the summer.
  • Monthly Reviews, which will be completed for each month
  • S.M.A.R.T. Goals, which will be completed by the SAC during the summer training
  • Any other report requested by a SAC Directors or the BACCHUS Initiatives staff

Facebook
SAC representatives are responsible for updating and posting to The BACCHUS Network Facebook page. SAC should be checking the group on a regular basis to monitor posts and answer questions posed by members. SAC representatives have the opportunity to create Facebook page for their area. If an area group already exists, that representative has the responsibility of updating them.

Articles for The Peer Educator Blog
SAC representatives have the option of submitting an article for publication on The Peer Educator Blog. Interested SAC representatives will coordinate this process with Tad Spencer of the BACCHUS Initiatives staff.

Terms of Office

  • SAC representatives will be elected by their respective area for a term of one year.
  • The term will commence at the conclusion of the area spring conference and conclude after the area meetings held the following year at the area spring conference.
  • A person is permitted to serve a total of two terms as an SAC representative. These two terms are not required to be consecutive.

SAC Election Procedure

If you wish to run for SAC, you must submit a complete nomination package to your area consultant no later than three weeks before your area spring conference. This nomination must include:

  • A letter of intent of no more than two pages
  • A letter from your advisor pledging support in the event of your election
  • A clear photograph for display at the spring conference
  • A resume including peer education-related service
  • A biography of no more than 150 words
  • Written answers of no more than 200 words to the following questions:
    1. Taking on the roles and responsibilities of SAC come with additional time commitments outside of school work/extra curricular activities, how do you plan on balancing all the demands it takes to fulfill this position?
    2. If you had to give three main goals for what you’d like to accomplish within the area during your term, what would they be?
    3. How will you use your existing skills as a peer educator to enhance the area and bring forth more interest in peer education?
  • Please indicate if you will attend your area spring conference. If you are not able to attend your area spring conference, you must also include a prepared speech and answers to provided questions. These will be read on your behalf at the spring conference.
  • For NASPA communication purposes, candidates must also include their campus address, permanent address, cell phone number, preferred email, year in school, and course of study.
  • All required documents should be sent electronically to your area consultant no later than three weeks before your area spring conference.

Questions? Please contact us.

 

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Area Spring Conference Schedule (updated)

Make plans now to attend your area spring conference! Below is the list of dates and locations for the conferences.

BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA
2015 Area Spring Conferences

 Areas 1, 2, 3
(Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, California, Nevada, Arizona, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado)
Denver, CO, April 17 & 18, 2015 (Exact location TBA)

Area 4
(Illinois, Wisconsin, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota)
Northern Illinois University, Dekalb IL, April 10 – 11, 2015

Area 5
(Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska)
Kansas City, April 9 – 11, 2015
Conference Website

Area 6
(Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas)
Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana, February 20 – 21, 2015

Area 7
(Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio)
Saginaw Valley State University, Michigan, April 10 – 11, 2015

Area 8
(Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee)
Rhodes College, Memphis, Tennessee, March 28, 2015

Area 9
(Florida, Georgia, Puerto Rico, South Carolina)
Georgia Southwestern State University, Americus, Georgia, February 20 – 21, 2015

Area 10
(Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont)
University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut, March 29, 2015

Area 11
(New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania)
California University of Pennsylvania, California, Pennsylvania, March 13 – 14, 2015

Area 12
(Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia)
Radford University, Radford Virginia, February 27 – March 1, 2015

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Behind the Lens at General Assembly

You may know him as the photographer at our annual General Assembly. But how much do you really know about Devin Kealey?

Check out this profile of him on the NASPA Blog.

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GA 2014 Wrap-Up

DisneyEntrance

Area 3 students visiting Downtown Disney (courtesy: Area 3)

This year, General Assembly was the perfect time (November 13 – 16) and the perfect place (Orlando) for many to escape frigid temperatures. Better yet, the conference schedule was packed with inspirational stories, valuable wisdom, and practical tips for peer education groups.

The conference began Thursday morning with two pre-conference workshops. This year, we were lucky to have Dr. Jason Kilmer discuss current marijuana research, as well as the ever-popular Advisors Academy program. Beginning Thursday afternoon, attendees had lots of opportunities to learn about new programs that their peer programs are doing. We had 84 breakout sessions spread over nine breakout time slots. GA 2014 officially opened Thursday evening with an energetic hour from David Coleman.

Friday got underway with a griping keynote presentation by Andrea Mosby, who shared her personal journey from scared teenager, to professional and very proud mother. Later in the day, participants had the opportunity to attend more educational sessions, as well as the first of two featured speaker showcases. Attendees could choose among Matt Glowacki, Kelly Addington & Becca Tieder, or the BACCHUS Sexperts.

Saturday was packed with even more educational sessions. The day began with a keynote from (now mustachioed) Ross Szabo, who discussed the importance of maintaining good mental health. After lunch, participants were treated to a second featured speaker showcase. This session featured Gabe Wright, Shaun Sperling, and The Female Orgasm. The conference closed out with our annual awards banquet, where the best of the best were honored for their work. As always, our conference photographer Devin Kealey reflected back the conference in an amazing collection of photos, video, and song. Participants then danced, sipped mocktails, and got goofy in the photo booth.

Several new student leaders were elected at General Assembly:

  • Sarah Devitt, SAC Director
  • Damian Glover, SAC Director
  • Mashaya Parks, SAC Communication Coordinator

New Student Advisory Committee (SAC) members from each area will be elected at spring area conferences.

IMG_50202014 Awards

Each year at the BACCHUS Initiatives of NASPA General Assembly, awards are presented to recognize outstanding peer education programs and individuals. The following programs and individuals received awards on November 15, 2014

Outstanding Advisor

  • Kendra Reichel, Well PAC, Fort Lewis University
  • JT Knoll, Gorillas in your Midst, Pittsburg State University
  • Jayme Trogus, Millersville Peer Educators, Millersville University
  • Terrance Harris, Wellness Interns, Stetson University
  • Wendy Krisak, PACE, DeSales University

Outstanding Student

  • Matthew Walla, Peer Health Educators, Saginaw Valley State University
  • Hailey Mackie, Health and Wellness Peer Educators, Indiana University Purdue University- Indianapolis
  • Aundrea Bevis, Project Health, University of Alabama
  • Joshua Kaufmann, SPARKS Peer Education, Elon University
  • Casey Stover, Millersville Peer Educators, Millersville University

Outstanding Program

  • Rock Out the RedZone, UWF Peer Educators, University of West Florida
  • JagFit!, Health and Wellness Peer Educators, Indiana University Purdue University- Indianapolis
  • This is HAWE Do IT, Health and Wellness Educators, Roger Williams University
  • Student vs Food, UNCW Health Promotion Peer Educators University of North Carolina Wilmington
  • Tobacco Free UM, Fresh Air Crew, University of Montana Missoula
  • Rubberwear, The UConn Sexperts (University of Connecticut)

Outstanding Peer Group

  • UNCW Health Promotion Peer Educators, University of North Carolina Wilmington
  • PACE, DeSales University
  • Peer Educators, Valencia College
  • Peer Health Educators, Radford University
  • SPARKS Peer Education, Elon University
  • The UConn Sexperts, University of Connecticut

Columbus State University claimed the titles of Best School Exhibit and Best BAC-Tail.

A big thank you goes out to this year’s sponsors and exhibitors:

Be sure to mark November 12 – 15, 2015 on your calendar for next year’s General Assembly in Reston, Virginia. We will be celebrating 40 years of BACCHUS and peer education!

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Celebrating the Great American Smokeout on Campus

smokeout-toolkit-1The idea is simple, though the change can be hard. For those who smoke, commit to not smoking for 24 hours. Then try 48 hours, then 72. Break the change down into smaller pieces.

The Great American Smokeout is an annual event promoting smoking cessation around the country. In health circles, it’s a sort of “high holiday” for behavior change.

A Little History

Like many good ideas, the beginnings of the Great American Smokeout were modest. In 1970, Arthur P. Mullaney asked people in Randolph, Massachusetts to give up cigarettes for a day and donate the money they would have spent on tobacco to a high school scholarship fund. The concept started to catch on, and in 1976, the California Division of the American Cancer Society convinced nearly one million smokers to quit for the day. Since then, it has become an annual event observed on the third Thursday in November.

The CDC originally funded The BACCHUS Network in the late 1990’s to work on tobacco prevention with college campuses. This led to the development of an annual “Collegiate Smokeout” programming manual for member campuses. NASPA Institutional Members can access the 2014 version for free. (For the free download code, please email Tad Spencer.)

Today, as part of NASPA, The BACCHUS Initiatives continue to provide campuses with resources, materials, training and technical assistance to reduce tobacco use.

How Far We Have Come

Even just ten years ago, the thought of having a completely tobacco-free campus seemed a little far-fetched. Now, though, there are 1,477 campuses with 100% smoke-free policies, 975 of which are 100% tobacco free. Policy change accelerates norm change.

Why are campuses adopting tobacco-free policies so rapidly?

  • First impressions are vital. Who wants to lead prospective students and their parents through smoky entryways and cigarette butt litter?
  • Students who do not smoke when entering college are less likely to start during their time on campus.
  • Health insurers notice when fewer employees smoke.
  • Facilities management can spend more time beautifying the campus and less time cleaning up toxic tobacco waste.
  • Parents love it.
  • Those with asthma can move more freely across campus, without worrying about side effects from secondhand smoke.
  • Tobacco users trying to quit have an easier time in environments where use is not allowed.
  • Everyone has more opportunities to enjoy the fresh air on campus.

The rise of smoke-free places throughout the first decade of the new millennium arguably has done more to save lives and drive down tobacco use in such a short period of time than any other single method in the past. As an advocate friend of mine likes to say, “If a scientist had created a pill that reduced heart attacks as much as smoke-free laws have, that person would, without a doubt, win The Nobel Prize.”

Many of our students grew up going to smoke-free restaurants and other public places. Compare that to the days when smoking was allowed virtually everywhere—classrooms, grocery stores, and airplanes. It is hard to imagine going back. That’s how we know the norm has changed for the better.

The BACCHUS Toolkit and Services

The 2014 Collegiate Smokeout toolkit is available for free to NASPA Institutional Members. (For the free download code, please email Tad Spencer.) The manual provides information on common tobacco products, ideas for promoting cessation on campus, and tips for building and ensuring compliance with a tobacco-free campus policy.

The BACCHUS Store has pamphlets, giveaway items and other resources to enhance your tobacco-related programming.

We also offer trainings and technical assistance to help campuses at all phases of the tobacco policy process. Please contact the BACCHUS Initiatives office at 303-871-0901 to learn more.

The Great American Smokeout is just one day out of the year. By reclaiming our campuses as tobacco-free environments and connecting people with cessation resources, our impact can last for generations.

 

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Recruiting Diverse Peer Educators

By: Lauren Irwin and Reid Roemmich, Michigan State University

IMG_3130The National Peer Educator Study (NPES) shows what peer educators across the United States are gaining from peer education involvement.  Despite peer educators generally demonstrating considerable growth as a result of their role, the population of peer educators is fairly homogeneous. By prioritizing the recruitment of diverse peer educators, peer education programs can better serve different student populations while simultaneously enhancing peer educators’ competencies working with a variety of students (Jones & Abes, 2013).  The 2014 NPES report indicates the following demographics of peer educators who completed the national survey:

  • Race:
    • 64% White
    • 12% Hispanic/Latino
    • 10% African-American/Black
    • 9% Asian/Asian-American/Pacific Islander
    • 5% Biracial/Multiracial
  • Gender:
    • 85% Women
    • 15% Male
  • Academic Class Standing:
    • 5% First-year students
    • 22% Sophomores
    • 30% Juniors
    • 42% Seniors

Clearly, the majority of peer educators in college are white females of junior and senior standing.  Therefore, it’s important for schools to look at redesigning their recruitment efforts to include more males and students of color in peer education programs.  Heys and Wawrzynski (2013) showed that regardless of academic class standing or race, male peer educators showed significantly positive gains in all of the measured learning domains.  Additionally, male peer educators can bring a different perspective to their peer education positions. As an institution, bringing in a larger variety of perspectives by recruiting nontraditional peer educators can clearly benefit both students and peer education programs.  We have provided some suggestions that may be helpful for you to think about when recruiting new peer educators and designing peer education programs on your campus.

  • Identify gaps. Look at your existing peer educators – what perspectives (gender, race, major, etc.) are underrepresented? What skill sets do you still need? By examining your current and previous groups of peer educators, you can focus more on recruiting students who will best serve in the role.
  • Reach out to specific academic departments. Depending on the function of the peer educator role, it could be beneficial to connect with certain academic departments. If your peer educators provide specialized information about sustainability, reach out to environmental science and public policy majors. Current education students may be especially interested in roles as tutors or instructors. It is also important to consider the skills that students will gain in the role. Recruit from marketing and graphic design students if you expect students to create their own publicity materials. Peer educator roles can be meaningful learning experiences for students and can foster the development of transferable skills to help in the future job search (Heys & Wawrzynski, 2013).
  • Utilize your returning peer educators. First, ask your current peer educators how they learned about the role.  They may give you important insight into what recruitment methods are most effective. Additionally, peer educators are talented at interacting and sharing information with their peers – use those skills to support recruitment. Encourage peer educators to share recruitment information via social media, with friends, and in other involvements on campus. Peer educators can share their personal experiences with others to market the opportunity accurately and effectively.
  • Connect with other advisors. Share best practices and recruitment strategies with other advisors. By sharing strategies, advisors can support intentional student involvement in peer education roles across campus. The University of South Carolina’s Office of Student Engagement created a Peer Leader Advisor Network as a way to centrally disseminate and share information about peer leaders on campus.
  • Intentionally recruit for diversity. In addition to the usual flyers and mass emails, consider targeted marketing strategies through existing campus resources. Ask career counselors and academic advisors to post and share recruitment information with the students they see. If the peer educator positions are paid, the financial aid office and other student employment and financial resources are excellent places to market. Publicize in residence halls and relevant living-learning communities. In-person outreach in the form of presentations to first year seminars and other classes, tabling at resource fairs, and information sessions can improve recruitment efforts. Additionally, partnering with cultural centers or offices that serve specific student populations can enhance intentional recruitment efforts.

As you can see, there are a number of strategies to get the best and brightest peer educators on campus. Although females have traditionally done a very good job in their role as peer educators, offering a broader perspective by recruiting more males and students of color should be considered in future practices.  Understanding the needs of your campus and aligning the skillsets of peer educators to meet those needs will help diversify the position.  Most importantly, taking an active role in peer education recruiting and marketing strategies will ensure that both the students and peer educators are getting the best experience possible.

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Take a look at how the University of Alabama’s Less Than U Think team has been addressing high-risk drinking during football season. (Via the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility)

http://responsibility.org/blog/2014/message-sticks-college-students-fight-binge-drinking-football-tailgate-stickers

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