Peer education has long been a part of the fabric of the Division of Student Development. Stemming from research that shows students turn to their peers as a source of information, Holy Cross understands the importance of having a presence of trained peer educators. They can be credible sources of information and can serve as role models to their fellow students. They can offer programs to students that can be open, honest and interactive.
Peer educators are deployed specifically to advance the success of the students they serve. But the peer educators themselves benefit as well. Peers who instruct and/or mentor their peers are engaged in a specialized form of experiential learning. As a result, peer educators gain valuable career-related skills that are transferrable to a variety of professional contexts where effective interpersonal and communication skills, problem-solving and use of good judgement, life-long learning, leadership, and similar skills are valued.
There are three peer education groups that are advised by the professionals in the Office of Student Wellness Education:
- SWEET (Students Who Educate, Empower and Train)
- Relationship Peer Educators (RPE)
- Peer Wellness Coaches
SWEET are a resource for education about alcohol and drug use. They collaborate with the campus community to create a safe and positive environment for all students. SWEET provides information about the risks of substance use, while offering healthy and fun alternatives to promote responsible choices. SWEET educate and program along the entire spectrum of substance use from: students who choose to be substance free, to students who use moderately, to students who use in high-risk ways. Whatever choice a student makes regarding their use, SWEET peer educators will always approach in a non-judgemental and evidence-based way.
Are co-advised between SWELL and the Office if Title IX & Equal Opportunity. RPEs are trained to offer support, education, and facilitated discussion through programming on issues of sexual assault and misconduct, consent, and other forms of interpersonal violence for the Holy Cross community. They do this to reduce sexual violence on campus and promote a culture of healthy relationships.
Coaches are students who are trained to help students looking to optimize their personal health and wellness or make meaningful changes in their lives. Peer Wellness Coaches listen and work one-on-one with students to set wellness goals and connect to the resources to achieve their goals. Peer Wellness Coaching is not counseling or mental health support.