The Kean University Peer Educators are looking for students to apply and join their team and help promote their mission to develop, review, enhance and revise policy on substances on campus and for increasing awareness of campus resources in regard to drugs and alcohol.
The peer educators of Kean University work on campus out of the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct. Together with the administration of Community Standards and the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs (AToD) Task Force, they work to provide harm reduction information to the Kean student population serving as coordinator and promoter of healthy lifestyle choices.
The Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs (AToD) Task Force is under the Division of Student Affairs and under the Office of Counseling, Disability and Other Drug Services. The peer educators work closely with the task force and through it create events on campus that raise awareness of the dangers of substances. The purpose of the AToD Task Force is to eliminate student substance use and have the Kean community be aware of their choices.
"The AToD Task Force is a committee of peer educators and managerial staff that focuses primarily on alcohol tobacco and other drugs in relation to Kean University. As peer educators we spend most of our time working on material related to combating alcohol tobacco and other drugs," said Scott Caldwell, senior criminal justice major, peer educator.
"Alcohol, tobacco and other drug use among college students pose as a complex problem on campuses, requiring a comprehensive approach. [AToD] was formed to serve a variety of functions in the area of prevention and intervention of substance use at Kean University," said Nicole Rodriguez, the director of the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct.
"Through the peer educator program, students can improve their presentation and communication skills, assist in researching presentation subjects and materials related to harm reduction and safe practices regarding AToD, learn about program assessment, create educational programs focusing on AToD, become familiar with all University policies and procedures in regard to AToD and Community Standards and Student Conduct. If qualified, students may earn up to $9.25 per hour," said Rodriguez.
Working as a peer educator is a paid job on campus and one can receive up to $9.25 per hour. Here is a list of requirements students need to apply:
- The peer educator must be a matriculated full-time (minimum of 12 credit hours) Kean University student in good academic standing.
- The Peer Educator is expected to maintain a satisfactory academic record. A cumulative GPA of 2.75 or higher is required for employment. If a peer educator’s grades fall below the minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA, he/she will be terminated or placed on employment probation.
- The peer educator must be available to work a 10-20 hours per week.
- The peer educator is required to attend training programs during various times of the academic year and summer and is also required to pass the national BACCHUS certification within 30 days of hire.
- The peer educator must be clear of any type of conduct related record which may call into question an individual’s suitability for the position. Upon review of an application, disciplinary records will be evaluated, and if warranted, an applicant may be required to discuss his/her record or possibly not be considered for employment.
- The peer educator is required to commit to a pledge of service promoting healthy choices.
- The peer educator will be required to attend meetings upon request of the Task Force.
- The peer educator is required to attend bi-weekly meetings with the AToD Task Force chair or co-chair.
- The peer educator will be evaluated by AToD Task Force and these evaluations will be used to strengthen their position effectiveness.
As a peer educator, one is responsible for all of the following:
- Conduct presentations for Transition to Kean students on policies relating to Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs (AToD).
- Assist in researching presentation subjects and materials related to harm reduction and safe practices regarding AToD.
- Assist in the preparation of AToD reports and program assessment
- Assist in the tracking of people/groups in attendance at presentations.
- Assist in the creation of educational programs focusing on AToD.
- Assist in the design and implementation of related surveys for those participants involved in AToD programs through web-based program.
- Become familiar with all University policies and procedures in regard to AToD and Community Standards and Student Conduct.
- Possess strong organizational skills.
- Possess strong communication and presentation skills.
Before applying for a peer educator position at Kean, one can also volunteer with the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct's peer volunteer group. It gives anyone a taste of what it is like to be a peer educator. Students too share the mission to help with spreading the awareness of drug and alcohol safety.
"I joined Community Standards & Student Conduct after joining the Peer Volunteer Group. The Peer Volunteer Group was essentially a club where I was able to learn and have hands-on experience of what being a peer educator was like. I started off volunteering at the tabling events the peer educators held. I became very interested in what they offered and eventually became the public relations director for the club. Knowing that the club and job were under the same sector, I applied for the position," said Kayreen Labarrere, global business major, peer educator.
Being involved on campus can surprisingly help students in many facets of their college experience. Students who are active in volunteering and work on campus have said that they do better in their classes after getting involved as it keeps them organized and forces them to schedule their time. These involved students also enjoy their college experience more because of the friends they gather that they wouldn't have met without their involvement.
"Student should join because this is a great opportunity to make new friends and to get more involved with your peers on campus. My grades stayed up while working because this position gave me great time-managing skills. I gained real world skills while also having a lot of fun. My co-workers all became great friends of mine, and it’s just diverting to have them close cheering me on when we present to students," said Maria Martinez, criminal justice & public administration major, senior, peer educator.
"In life, especially in college a lot of major obstacles come your way and you may need a helping hand and that’s why we’re here: to show and have informational tabling events and programs geared for students and what they are facing today," said Kayreen Labarrere, peer educator.
To apply for a peer educator position, the application can be found on the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs (AToD) Task Force Cougar Link page under "forms". To volunteer with the Community Standards and Student Conduct Peer Volunteer group, students can go to their Cougar Link page as well and contact them at PeerGroup@kean.edu.
If anyone wants to know more about what the peer educators are all about, they can attend one of their events including their upcoming recruitment table!