By: Justin Worthing ~Staff Writer~
Xavier’s Title IX Office and the Office of Student Integrity are looking for eight peer educators (PEs) for their new Student Wellness Advocacy Group (SWAG).
If accepted, PEs will facilitate events and programs which will educate students on specific wellness issues, such as sexual health, gender identity and alcohol and drug use. PEs will also receive a $1,000 stipend over one year.
“(SWAG) is the result of a (two-year) grant that we received from Xavier’s Women of Excellence group to specifically do peer education around wellness issues,” Jean Griffin, director of Student Integrity, said.
“(SWAG will address) areas where Xavier can do more to help students think about their choices… and we believe that’s going to be most effectively delivered when it’s done by peers,” Griffin said.
If accepted, all PEs will be trained by professionals from the renowned BACCHUS Network, which has trained students and college staff on related issues since 1975.
“The coolest thing is that we’re bringing in BACCHUS, which is a national organization that’s well-known and (uses) evidence-based training for peer facilitation. The students that are selected … will get really solid facilitation and intervention skills in early October,” Griffin said.
After training, SWAG PEs will begin hosting events and partnering with other organizations in January.
They intend to meet with a variety of students to arm them with skills to make smart decisions in college.
“SWAG educators will have a lot of independence,” Megan Bowling, SWAG graduate coordinator, said. “But we hope to change the minds of X students (on these issues).”
Although their primary responsibility is leading programs on wellness, students will also be trained to make referrals for individual cases. They will not handle any individual incidents, but they will know who to direct students to if approached with a case.
Bowling is to credit for the group’s name.
“It might sound cheesy at first but it does get people’s attention,” Bowling said. “It’s interesting and catchy and kind of fun.”