Peer program offers well-being education

LU’s “Healthy Cards” is a program that offers students the opportunity to educate their peers about health.

“The reason that students should sign up for the program is really the leadership they’re going to get out of this role, plus the education there going to get,: Marie Murray, a health education specialist in LU’s Health Center, said. “A lot of times I get students that are interested because of their major, like nursing students and exercise science students.

“Also, I got a graphic design student who gets to come in and design my fliers, so a lot of these students are getting some sort of experience that’s going to help them in their future.

“What I want students to bring to the program is a good attitude about it. I don’t care what your major is, it’s really just wanting to have that leadership role and having a good attitude about it.”

Before students are hired on, they will watch a peer education training video, Murray said.

“When we hire students, they go through certified peer education training,” she said. “What the training cover are things like how to talk about sensitive topics, how to communicate with students when you’re in that leadership role and as a peer, and how to give presentation. A lot of the sessions are really just laying the groundwork for how you can be a good peer educator. It is not just about the knowledge, it’s about how you present yourself.

       Senior Shantel Gay, who is a current peer educator, said she enjoys teaching students about health.

       “I like how I get a chance to educate my peers on things that they are unaware of, like alcohol abuse, nutrition, exercise, stress reduction, and letting them know about STDs,” she said.

       Healthy Card peer education will have programs that help benefit students, Murray said.

       “One of the best things about this program is that I kind of build it like an internship —I want the students to take ownership of the program,” she said.

For example, Gay is organizing a program on World’s Aids Day, Dec.1, offering free HIV testing, information on STDs, as well as some giveaways.

“Shantel gets to plan it and do all the legwork and hard work,” Murray said. “We do a lot of interactions with students.”

Murray said the Healthy Cards also organizes “Stress Week.”

“The week before finals, we work with different departments and put on a bunch of programs so students can relax,” she said. “A lot of it is the programming that the students want or need that we get to put on.”

Murray said she wants the peer educators to grow out of the experience.

  “Students should look forward to having fun,” she said. “It’s a job where you get to socialize with other students. It’s also where we want you to learn and grow as a student leader.”

       Students must be a current full-time Lamar University or Lamar Institute of Technology student and maintain a minimum 2.7 cumulative GPA for each semester of participation.

For more information or to apply, search for Healthy Cards at lamar.edu.

Story by Elijah Porchia, UP contributor

Learn more about Lamar University at lamar.edu

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