Hannah Carroll, Campus Carrier Staff Writer
Piloting for the 2018-2019 academic year at Berry is a peer helper course devised to prepare participants to be effective peer educators and student leaders.
The peer helper course is a class hosted by the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) and approximately 200,000 national and international students have already completed it. With the guidance and facilitatorship of Director of Health, Wellness and Recreation Michael McElveen and Associate Dean of Students Lindsay Norman, the class is debuting to the Berry community for the duration of the school year.
The class is a universal course that is applicable to all students that are entering diverse fields, McElveen said. The skills that students learn are transferable and are not specific to problems in college but to life issues in general. These skill sets will not only aid participants in becoming well-rounded leaders but also good citizens for the community.
“What I hope is that this course will help create a common culture across campus on how we can be a healthy campus and support one another,” McElveen said.
In its objective of creating leaders the course has a heavy emphasis on the concept of change and how it can occur in any environment or situation. The class will include skills such as how to be a good listener, an active bystander and how to create effective programs that benefit the community, according to Norman. The course also aims to help students understand how change and high-risk behavior intersect as well as recognizing the role of diversity and inclusivity, according to McElveen.
This pilot course hasseven referred students enrolled, all of whom come from different majors and job positions. These students will meet throughout the fall and spring semesters to engage in discussion-based classes and online modules, according to Norman. At the conclusion of the course the students will work together to create a program to initiate change on campus.
The students will also have the opportunity to sit for the Certified Peer Education (CPE) exam and become certified Peer Educators, according to McElveen.
While the students enrolled were referred into the course, the class will be more accessible to students as it continues to grow in the future, according to Norman. As of now the course is not credited; however, discussion has been launched to possibly have the peer helper course as a college credit class for Berry students.
The course targets those in community-leadership positions, such as peer educators, resident assistants and peer mentors, but is available for all students.