Kean's Peer Educators are looking for students who want to join them in their mission to create a safe campus. Peer Educators work hand-in-hand with the administration of Community Standards and the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs Task Force (AToD) to provide information to Kean students promoting healthy lifestyle choices. Peer educators work closely with AToD to create events to make Kean University a safe place for students to be.
According to their webpage, the Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Task Force (AToD) "was formed to serve a variety of functions in the area of prevention and intervention of substance use at Kean University. The task force is under the Division of Student Affairs and is overseen by the Office of Counseling and Disability Services. The AToD committee consists of leaders from across the Kean community who are in key departments that address student substance use. The primary goal of the task force is to develop comprehensive methods to address the various alcohol and drug issues that arise within the University community. AToD’s mission is to address both environmental and individual factors to reduce substance use."
According to the task force's web page, the committee’s focuses on "developing new policies, reviewing, enhancing and revising existing policies and maintaining consistency in enforcement of policies across campus". They also "work to increase the awareness of campus resources and implement and coordinate educational programs" for students on topics such as safe drinking habits and how to prevent assault.
As a peer educator, one is responsible for conducting presentations for Transition to Kean (T2K) students on policies relating to AToD. They are also responsible for assisting in researching presentation subjects and materials related to harm reduction and safe practices regarding AToD, the preparation of AToD reports and program assessment and the creation of educational programs focusing on AToD, the tracking of people/groups in attendance at presentations and in the design and implementation of related surveys for those participants involved in AToD programs through web-based programs. Peer Educators should become familiar with all University policies and procedures in regard to AToD and Community Standards and Student Conduct. Most of all, they should possess strong organization, communication and presentation skills.
John Shantz, a spokesperson from the peer educator group, seeks to "educate the campus community on healthy lifestyle choices, [whether it be] sexual health, awareness of sexual assault, rape, consent and the affects of alcohol and drugs."
Shantz was the secretary and president of the peer educator club at Raritan Valley Community College, and has been a peer educator at Kean University since last fall. With a lot of experience with substance and alcohol abuse, he decided to make the change and turn his experience into a learning opportunity for the campus community at large.
"As a peer educator, you learn how to organize," Shantz said. "You learn how to table effectively, and you can familiarize yourself with issues on campus. It's our job to come up with the information in a way that's interesting for students."
The Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs Task Force is holding some events in April that are definitely worth checking out. National Alcohol Awareness Day was Thursday, April 11. Peer Educators were in the Miron Student Center (MSC) Atrium from 2 to 4 p.m. to inform students about alcohol levels and the dangers of impairment. On Wednesday, April 17, there will be an event called Open Safe Space, an open discussion among students about sexual assault held in the MSC, Room 315B from 4 to 6 p.m. The purpose is to debunk misconceptions that students may have and to give out important facts such as how to report a sexual assault act on campus and what to do if the individual or someone else they know has been through the same experience.
On Thursday, April 18, there will be a Stress Relief Tabling that will also held in MSC from 2 to 4 p.m. Peer Educators are going to provide information about ways to relieve stress, so students can learn how to have an easier time in school and in their everyday life. That same night, there will be an event called Roll Red Roll held in the MSC Little Theatre from 7 to 9:30 p.m. This film screening about sexual assault while also providing general alcohol education. Each of these events are perfect opportunities to talk to a Peer Educator and learn more about how being a Peer Educator can fit into your life.
To apply for a Peer Educator position, visit the Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs (AToD) Task Force Cougar Link page and fill out the application which can be found under "Forms." Students can also visit them at Down's Hall, Room 127 or on the third floor of the Miron Student Center at the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct MSC, Room 317.