More than 40 students completed the NASPA Peer Educator certificate program on January 13-14, the weekend before spring semester classes began.
The Certified Peer Educator training consists of eight modules, including understanding the power, roles, and characteristics of a peer educator; understanding change; being an effective listener; bystander intervention; and programming strategies.
The 12-hour training experience, organized by Dean Sarah Williamson, included students from the Student Government Association, Residence Life, the Knights Programming Board, Peer Educators, and the African Student Association as well as Student Affairs graduate assistants. These students also assisted with new student orientation and participated in the MLK day of service.
“The most important lesson I learned during the peer educator training was the bystander intervention module,” says Syncere Ross, a senior Political Science major. “Being attentive of what is going on around you and being an active bystander in helping your community was what stood out to me the most.”
Ross was also surprised by how much he learned in just 12 hours. “The activities, guest speakers, and group work allowed our group to complete the training and have a good time as a staff as well.”
Michael Lee, a junior Criminal Justice major, also found the experience enlightening: “The peer educator training taught me that ‘trying to solve someone’s problems doesn’t inspire change.’ This takeaway promotes walking someone through effective steps of change to deal with their problems and supporting them, rather than just taking all matters into your own hands.”
She admits that the session on gender identity was eye-opening. “This session was the most shocking to me because, though I am familiar with the LGBTQ+ community, I didn’t realize how many ways people identify.”
According to Williamson, “The NASPA Certified Peer Educator program closely aligns with Neumann’s RISES values and provides student leaders with tangible ways to create change in their communities. Throughout the training, students discussed how to serve as mentors and educators for their peers, embodying the essence of servant leadership and Neumann’s own commitment to fostering a culture where knowledge is a gift to be shared.”
NASPA is the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. It has more than 13,000 members at 1,400 campuses in 25 countries.
The organization’s website clarifies the Peer Educator mission: “CPE training helps peer educators develop leadership skills to successfully create and implement campus programs ... Campuses are relying on their students to be curators of change and support systems for their peers, and the CPE program provides foundational-level skills to allow these students to be successful.”