What is a Peer Educator?
Peer educators are typically the same age or slightly older than the group with whom they are working. They may work alongside a faculty member, run educational activities on their own, or actually take the lead in organizing and implementing school-based activities that encourage OU students to make healthier choices. Peer educators can help raise awareness, provide accurate information, and help their classmates develop skills to change behavior. Some of the ways they are doing this at OU include:
- Leading informal discussions.
- Video and drama presentations.
- One-on-one time talking with fellow students.
- Handing out educational materials, leaflets and brochures.
- Offering counseling, support and referral to services.
Peer education is based on the reality that many people make changes not only based on what they know, but on the opinions and actions of their close, trusted peers. Peer educators can communicate and understand in a way that the best-intentioned adults can't, and can serve as role models for change.
How do I become a certified peer educator?
The easiest way to become a certified peer educator is to contact the Counseling Center at 404-364-8456 or email The Counseling Director at firstname.lastname@example.org. Student Leaders from SGA, Athletics and Greek Life plus other interested students are recruited in the spring semester into a comprehensive training program to help them recognize and respond to signs of mental health distress and to provide awareness programming.
What is S.M.A.S.H?
Student Motivating Action in Support of Health, a peer education program became a recognized and registered student organization in 2009-2010. The purpose of S.M.A.S.H is to promote the awareness of health related issues with respect to The Oglethorpe University Student Community. S.M.A.S.H collaborates with the University Counseling Center in training students to become peer educators.
S.M.A.S.H peer educators are affiliate members of The BACCHUS Network™. The BACCHUS philosophy is that students can play a uniquely effective role - unmatched by professional educators - in encouraging their peers to consider, talk honestly about and develop responsible habits and attitudes toward high-risk health and safety issues.
What topics have S.M.A.S.H. members presented on?
- Alcohol & Drug Abuse
- Body Image
- Healthy Relationships
- Impaired Driving
- Nutrition and Exercise
- Sexually Health
- Stress and Time Management