Peer Health Educators
Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and the training course, HF 215, is offered every semester.
The mission of the Peer Health Education program is to promote healthy choices and lifestyles through educating and empowering the campus community on a variety of health-related topics. Peer health educators serve as a resource, referral agent and role model for their peers. They are responsible for providing positive, interactive fun and non-judgmental programming and education aimed at providing their peers with information to make healthy, informed decisions regarding their health and well-being.
In order to work as a PHE at Skidmore, students need to first complete an in-depth training course (HF 215). Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and the course is offered every semester.
The PHE program is highly selective. All students who apply are offered the opportunity to complete the interview process, which involves a combination of one-on-one sessions with Health Promotion staff and current PHE leaders as well as group interview sessions that enable applicants to learn more about the program and for PHE leaders and administrators to identify the unique strengths and skills of each applicant. In selecting the next group of PHEs in training, the goal is to select a well-rounded group of students with a range of interests, experiences and backgrounds. Students do not need to come to the program with any prior training or experience in health-related work, but should be prepared to demonstrate why the program is a good fit for them and why they would be a strong addition to the program.
The peer health educators are highly trained student leaders who work under the direction of staff in the Department of Health Promotion. Selected students must enroll in the PHE training course, HF 215 (3 credits). The course is offered every semester and can accommodate a maximum of 15 students per semester. Ongoing training is provided to students who have successfully completed HF 215 through a 1 credit course (HF 315) as well as through an all-group, weeklong intensive training session prior to the start of each fall semester.
- HF 215 Peer Health Education (3 credits): This course introduces students to health education, health promotion and peer health education. Sessions are highly interactive and engage students around topics that are relevant to the health and well-being of college students (including alcohol and other drugs, sexual health, disordered eating, nutrition, mental health, sleep, body image, sexuality, etc). In addition, students develop their leadership and communication skills so that they are well-prepared to serve as peer health educators upon course completion.
- HF 315 Advanced Peer Health Education (1 credit): This course builds on concepts covered during HF 215 by guiding students through the process of promoting health and well-being among the Skidmore student body. The course is student-driven and allows students the opportunity to further delve into specific areas of study that are of particular interest to each individual.
Once trained, students have the opportunity to join one of our PHE committees. Each committee has a distinct set of goals and objectives and works creatively to achieve its mission. Committees include:
- Social Norms: Focuses on harm-reduction programming in the area of alcohol and other drugs. Oversees Skidmore's Social Norms Campaign.
- Community Building: Focuses on creating community for students looking for alternatives to the college party scene. Oversees The Source and Friday Feature. For more information, visit the Skidmore SOURCE.
- Bystander Intervention: Focuses on empowering the campus community to step up, step out or step over to create a safer and more welcoming Skidmore for all.
- Sexual Health: Focuses on encouraging open dialogue and raising awareness about issues related to sexual health and wellness.
- Nutrition and Fitness: Focuses on promoting active lifestyle and healthy diet.
- Mental Health: Focuses on educating the campus community about mental health and reducing stigma for help-seeking.
The Student Wellness Center
The PHEs are anonymous peer-to-peer resources for the student body. Trained PHEs who are interested in staffing the Student Wellness Center, located on the third floor of Case Center, complete additional training to prepare them to sit center shifts. In this role, PHEs are available for one-on-one conversations with students, provide educational programming and sell health products including safer-sex products.
PHEs who have successfully completed HF 215 and have worked for at least one semester in the PHE role are eligible to apply for one of our fantastic, paid, leadership positions. These include:
- Head PHE
- PHE mentor (two positions)
- Committee leader (six positions)