A Q&A with Triniti Halverson, advisor at Montana State University – Billings and Area 3 Consultant
How do you advertise peer educator openings or recruitment periods?
- Peer educator openings are posted on our website with an online application.
- Postcards are given out at events.
- We have a recruitment fair at which we set up seven different tables that have individual displays representing different topics that we cover. Students go to each table and talk with a current peer educator about that topic and how we educate on it. They then get a stamp on their ‘passport’. They bring the passport to the final table and give it to our president and vice president and they talk to them about getting involved and give them a swag item for attending.
- We also do a lot of recruitment at orientation.
- We send out an email with all of the volunteer positions (including peer educators) available in Student Health Services to all of the students living in the residence halls.
- Our group gives presentations to specific classes and degrees that are easily linked to peer education (health promotion, education, human services, etc).
- We also send out emails to campus professionals that work with students (diversity center, 1st year seminar staff, etc) and ask them invite specific student leaders to join. I then reach out to those individuals.
Is there a particular time of year you conduct recruiting?
- We recruit in the Spring and over summer at Orientation.
What is the process for applicants—interviews, agreements, training expectations?
- First, they complete an online application.
- We conduct an interview and have the person give a five minute presentation on a health topic
- Once accepted, there is a week-long training followed by a weekend retreat
- We ensure they know the expectations, go through confidentiality training, and sign contracts.
Are there particular qualities you look for in peer educators? What are they?
- I look for:
- Genuine desire to help others
- Willingness to learn or improve on areas that they have identified as areas of opportunity (i.e. if they “aren’t good at public speaking” are they willing to learn and practice?)
- Ability and desire to be a healthy role model
- Non-judgmental attitude towards a diverse populations as well as struggles that may be different for students
What are some lessons you have learned about selecting new peer educators?
- By nature, we start to recruit the students that we already see involved on campus because they are genuinely good student leaders. This starts to become a problem because these students are involved in everything and they typically don’t have much to give to the group and/or it starts to hinder their ability to do well in classes.
I think you need a combination of very involved students and brand new students. It’s also nice to have a combination of freshman through seniors so that they don’t all graduate at once.