Students launch peer education initiative

Three students have been hard at work this year, creating and organizing workshops on campus about identity, inclusion, diversity and leadership. The work by senior Brian Menard and juniors Chris Turner and Aniqua Hendricks has finally culminated in a new initiative, the Social Change Peer Educators, which launched last week.

Social Change Peer Educators.JPG
Social Change Peer Educators Chris Turner, Aniqua Hendricks and Brian
Menard talk at an event to celebrate the program's launch.

As peer educators, they have worked to help students define and discover leadership as a process rather than a position, help students discover more about themselves, and aid students in recognizing what they can accomplish as individuals within their communities. Through building content and providing an open conversation, these students have created a space for their peers to discuss social justice issues and other topics they may not  discuss in other facets of their academic and social lives.

The trio agrees that they want to create a space for students to openly express themselves and to be exposed to different perspectives.     

This is one of the reasons Menard enjoys the work.

“I love being a peer educator because I am able to facilitate a conversation that helps students to learn new perspectives,” he said, “and in doing so, I get to learn new perspectives as well.”

Turner discussed his future aspirations for the organization.

“I hope we are able to have a continued conversation on social justice issues and other topics that students don’t get the chance to speak about in any other setting,” he said.

For Hendricks, collaboration is a primary goal as the program develops.

“I hope that we can gain more involvement with other organizations on campus, the Center for Leadership & Social Change programs, and continue to develop this platform for different opinions,” she said.

Although the primary focus for the group is peer-to-peer education, members will also conduct workshops for university departments and community groups.

Organizations can request workshops on diversity, inclusion, identity, and leadership. If there are specific requirements from the organization, peer educators can tailor the workshop to include these specifications. Jan. 27 is the priority deadline to request a workshop.

— Talise Burton