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UWF Peer Educators present, earn awards at national conference

University of West Florida | news@uwf.edu

The University of West Florida Peer Educators presented at a national conference for the fourth consecutive year, and received two awards.

“The peer educators consistently earn honors at this National Conference year after year,” said Dr. Rebecca Kennedy, assistant vice president and director of counseling and psychological services. “Dr. Cambron guides them all year, and each year at the conference other campuses pack the rooms to see what we’ll present. Congratulations to our amazing students, Dr. Cambron and all the Wellness Services team for their creativity and commitment to excellence that earned them this great honor.”

UWF students Jasmine Lee, Tori VanScyoc, Davis Wood, Taylor Brownlie and Delaney Anderson, along with faculty advisor Dr. Alicia Cambron, attended the 2017 NASPA National Peer Education Bacchus General Assembly Conference from Nov. 16-18. Lee and VanScyoc presented “Love Like You,” a program on healthy relationships, while Wood and Brownlie presented “Bear Necessities of Sleep.” Anderson and Wood also presented “Get it Right: MAP Your Night,” an alcohol harm reduction program.

Out of more than 100 programs presented at the conference, Lee and VanSyoc received the peer-selected Best in Show award for “Love, Like, You.”

“The fact that the ‘Love Like You’ program was chosen for Best in Show made me immensely proud of our team,” Cambron said. “During the presentation, there was standing room only and all participants were engaged and interested in the topic. Hearing that so many peers and advisors voted for the program and wanted to implement it on their campuses made it seem like all of the students’ hard work was worth it.”

Additionally, Cambron was named Outstanding Advisor of the Year.

“Many people who I strive to be like in the field were also nominated, so it was a privilege to be in the running with such great professionals,” she said. “What means the most to me, though, is that my students took the time to nominate me. Being selected made me want to come back to UWF and continue to work even harder for my team.”

The current UWF Peer Educators program model was launched in 2012, with most students selected for part-time, paid positions after completing a semester-long course and application. Peer educators assist in the development and implementation of campus-wide health promotion campaigns designed to prevent health problems among college students by encouraging healthy lifestyles. They help coordinate various health awareness activities, generate health promotion marketing campaigns and facilitate presentations in residence halls and classrooms.

“Given the sensitive nature of the topics we provide health education for including alcohol, sexual health, other drugs, relationship violence, stalking, sexual assault, stress and sleep, the message is more salient when it is delivered by someone students can connect with,” said Mica Harrell, director of UWF Wellness Services. “Not only is peer-to-peer education more effective, but the students who become peers have the knowledge they need to intervene with friends in social situations and also are more likely to adopt the healthy behavior they seek to promote.”

Since 2014, the UWF Peer Educators have earned numerous awards at the NASPA General Assembly, including Outstanding Program of the Year for Rock Out the Redzone in 2014, Outstanding Peer Educator of the Year in 2015 and Outstanding Peer Group of the Year in 2016.

For more information about UWF Peer Educators, visit uwf.edu/peereducators.

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