Peer Health Educators selected for 2012-13
By Samantha Savaglio
Peer Health Educators (PHE) is a student organization whose goal is to educate the community through open discussions on general wellness, sexual health, mental health, and social issues. They bring awareness to various social issues through information boards, speakers, presentations, and programs.
Some of their best known events are "Sexfest," Late Night Talks with PHE, "Operation Jungle Red," and PHE week.
Unlike other student organizations, PHE is a paid leadership position that requires students to participate in an individual and group interview process. Upon selection, students are asked a series of questions that determine their qualifications. They are required to devote seven hours per week to the organization, planning informational events around campus.
Members of this year's team are Captain Julie Evans, Jasmine Anderson, Colleen Cummings, Karisa Laskowski, Florine Ndakuya, Dennis "DJ" Polzin, Jayk Retasket, and Valencia Williamson.
PHE is responsible for programming on safe sex, tobacco and other drug awareness, alcohol awareness, healthy relationships, and physical and mental wellness. They provide students with necessary and accurate information they need to make healthy lifestyle choices. PHE's October events can be found online.
Such an organization is crucial to the campus community. For the most part, this is the first time students are living on their own, needing to make their own decisions, often under pressure. The challenges and opportunities they face require that they make safe choices.
"We are not here to make their decisions for them, we are here as a resource for them; guiding them in healthy living," says Julie Evans.
PHE is also active off-campus. They attend the annual Bacchus National Conference during fall semester where they meet with other peer health educators from around the nation. The knowledge and leadership skills acquired is then brought back to our campus and shared with other students.
Evans explained, "Sometimes it's easier to confide in a peer, and trust your peer, when you have no one else. We're here to make the students feel comfortable and provide them with the knowledge they need to make responsible choices."In the photo, seated, from left, are Colleen Cummings, Jayk Retasket (middle), Valencia Williamson, and Dennis "DJ" Polzin; standing, from left are Florine Ndakuya, Karisa Laskowski , Julie Evans, and Jasmine, Anderson.