Peer Health Educators
Please note that although the training course is typically offered both semesters, it will not be offered fall 2022. Although students are welcome to submit applications at any time, the next opportunity to interview for the program will occur during the fall 2022 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. It is not uncommon to receive upwards of 60 applications in a single semester (the training course can accomodate up to 18 per semester). 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. A call for applications goes about once per semester, but students are free to apply at any time through this link: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/DSWJTXX.
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 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:
- Health Communication & Marketing: Designs and delivers programs and marketing campaigns on a range of topics including alcohol and other drugs, stress, sleep, sexual health, physical activity, and general wellness. Uses social norming strategies to correct misperceptions about student behaviors.
- Community Building: Focuses on creating community for students looking for alternatives to the college party scene. Oversees The Source and Friday Night Out. 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.
- Relationships: focuses on a wide range of relationship types including relationships with self, friends, roommates/housemates, romantic partners, family members, etc. This group designs programming and educational campaigns to foster healthy relationships, improve communication skills, raise awareness, and provide opportunities for connection.
The Student Wellness Center
The PHEs are anonymous peer-to-peer resources for the student body. Trained PHEs with at least one semester of committee experience (see above for committee descriptions) who are interested in staffing the Student Wellness 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)