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Health and Wellness Peer Education Team Expands, Seeks Applications
With the opening of the Barnes Center at The Arch this fall, Syracuse University has new and exciting opportunities for students to discover health and wellness. The Barnes Center’s dedicated professional staff and over 400 student employees make its programs and services a reality. A key component of this are the Health Promotion Peer Educators.
The peer education team is newly expanded to include 70 students across three different teams – Be Wise, Peer Educators Encouraging Healthy Relationships and Sexuality (PEEHRS) and Students Advocating for Mental Health Empowerment (SAMHEs). And as the semester begins, they are looking for passionate undergraduate students to join their team.
The peer education team officially began in the fall of 2016 with the creation of the PEEHRS. The SAHMEs were created the following fall, and Be Wise – previously a registered student organization for several years – began working with Health Promotion in the fall of 2018. The initiative aims to promote peer-to-peer health and wellness education to help the campus community make informed decisions in their journey to health and wellness. Through interactive programs, tabling and outreach events, the peer educators act as role models and liaisons to connect their peers to resources across campus and the community.
“As a peer educator for the past three years, it’s been amazing to see the growth of our team,” says Sarina Wallace ’20, a neuroscience and psychology double major and educator with the SAHME team. “My first year, there were only around 10 of us. Now, there are over 20. This year and new team brings opportunities to reach more students than ever before.”
The expansion not only furthers health and wellness initiatives on campus, but provides students a fulfilling student employment opportunity. Many peer educators credit their time as peers as formative to their student experience – allowing them to learn new skills, build community and gain a new sense of purpose.
“I love being a peer educator at the Barnes Center at the Arch,” says Lia Figurelli ’22, a PEEHRS educator majoring in sociology with a minor in psychology. “It’s a great opportunity for personal growth, not only in my education, but also in areas such as communication, teamwork and interpersonal skills.”
Jordan Correia ’18 G’20, a former PEEHRS educator and current office coordinator for the Mathematics Department, credits his experience as a peer educator to gaining professional skills and influencing his future career goals. “I think the biggest skill I learned from being a PEEHRS is the ability to communicate information while providing perspective, an important skill as a librarian,” says Correia. “After my library science master’s degree, I want to get a master’s of public health and combine the two to help make information more accessible to different communities and learn how groups access and spread information.”
Sarah Rebetje ’19, a former SAHME team leader, credits her experience as a peer educator to building friendships and confidence. “Being a team leader was one of my most fulfilling experiences at Syracuse University,” she explains. “It gave me the confidence to act as an advocate on campus, and the strength and empathy to act as a role model and friend to those in need. I discovered the power in having difficult conversations and was empowered by the ability to take action in my community.”
Peer education employment is available to all Syracuse University undergraduate students, and the application is open. Applications are due by Sunday, Feb. 16. Students interested in applying may learn more about the peer education team and their duties at the Barnes Center website or attend an interest session on Wednesday, Jan. 15; Tuesday, Jan 28 or Thursday, Feb. 6.
Students can explore additional student employment opportunities in Handshake, the University’s employment exploration platform.
About the Barnes Center at The Arch
The Barnes Center at The Arch is a state-of-the-art health, wellness and recreation complex. As the hub for student wellness, it features programs, services and offerings that promote holistic health and well-being all in one accessible, centralized space on campus. Further enhancing the student experience, the Barnes Center includes an integrated wellness team delivering student-centered, inclusive care and programs. The team approaches health and wellness holistically, encompassing mind, body, spirit and community.