UWF peer educators receive national accolade for campaign against violence
The University of West Florida Peer Educators program was recently awarded “Outstanding Peer Education Program” for its annual “Take Back the Night” event during the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators General Assembly Conference in Orlando.
Held at UWF since 2000, Take Back the Night is an international event intended to educate, protest and bring awareness to violence, inspiring young adults to confront issues including rape, stalking and dating violence. The 2018 Take Back the Night event at UWF included an information fair, a survivor guest speaker, creative performances and a campus march to show solidarity and support for survivors of sexual assault.
The goal of the UWF peer education program is to develop and implement campuswide campaigns to prevent health problems and promote healthy lifestyles among college students. More than 400 peer education programs from across the nation were represented at the NASPA conference, where UWF peer educators also presented two programs on resiliency and alcohol risk reduction.
Taylor Brownlie, a senior exercise science major and president of the Kappa Xi Chapter of Alpha Chi Omega, was among the peer educators to present at the NASPA conference.
“I decided to become a peer educator because I want to have a positive influence on the students at UWF,” Brownlie said. “Knowing that the things we present to them can help them think twice and make safer decisions in the future means a lot to me. Being recognized for such an important event that raises awareness for sexual assault is an honor, and I hope that we continue to impact the campus with this event as we have in the past.”
According to UWF assistant director of wellness Alicia Cambron, peer education has been found to be one of the most effective strategies for educating students on health topics, because peer educators know the behaviors of fellow students and recognize the barriers to changing them.
Cambron is proud to be their advisor as she watches the students grow and empower others to do the same.
“If the peer educators truly start to change the culture of what it means to be a college student, it will not only affect our student population but even the community,” Cambron said.
For more information about the UWF Peer Educators program and other wellness services at UWF, visit uwf.edu/wellness.