Peer Educators to Educate New Peers

Fresh PEEPS intern Veronica Wynn (left) and PEEPS' new advisor Courtney Harrington (right) share a laugh while planning out the upcoming semester

Fresh PEEPS intern Veronica Wynn (left) and PEEPS' new advisor Courtney Harrington (right) share a laugh while planning out the upcoming semester

[Hammond] – Southeastern’s Peer Educators Educating Peers organization started off the new spring semester with its first general meeting on Jan. 30, informing old members and new about the organization’s upcoming interactions with the community.
This semester’s events will include both conferences and training available to PEEPS members who want to become certified peer educators, as well as Southeastern students who want to become more well-informed on issues such as drunken driving, tobacco usage and how to make a bigger difference in their area.
Advisor to PEEPS Annette Newton-Baldwin, who has attended conventions in the past described the events as serious.
She described topics covered at the events ranging from things like what to do when a friend is drinking too much at a party, to what to do if you have a suicidal friend, to activism training.
“If there are more peer educators on campus, it makes for a healthier campus,” she said. Events will include “Mardi Gras Madness” in February, open to all Southeastern students. Attendees can expect games, beads and fun.
An event open to the community will be “In the Zone,” during which Fresh PEEPS, a branch of the PEEPS organization, plans to set up a safe zone complete with policemen in front of Southeastern’s lab school for families with children to watch the Annual Krewe of Omega Parade on Feb. 17. Games, a blow-up slide and a lemonade stand will be included.
PEEPS members will also have the opportunity to attend the Tangipahoa Reshaping Attitudes for Community Change monthly meeting.
TRACC was created to help prevent substance abuse, according to Newton-Baldwin, because Tangipahoa Parish had one of the highest fatality rates for people under 21 having to do with alcohol.
Fresh PEEPS intern and senior Veronica Wynn is a co-founder of PEEPS. She described her concerns about the community on Monday. “We don’t want the community to have a negative outlook at SLU for a handful of students,” she said. “We’re trying to help promote Southeastern in a better light.”
Wynn was present at the infamous car wreck in Hammond in 2009 that started PEEPS, where drunken driver Derek Quebedeaux ran over five people, killing three. She described driving past, and staying up that night.
“It’s life-changing to know that someone’s parent’s life is changed because of a decision,” she said.
PEEPS has also recently supported a movement for a tobacco-free campus at Southeastern. According to the American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation, as of Jan. 2, 2012, there are at least 648 smoke-free campuses, indoors and out. Southeastern is considering joining them.
“There’s a plan being put together that is in review,” said Newton. “Many people want a smoke-free campus. Really it’s a national trend that’s happening.”
PEEPS also plans to attend a press conference given by the Louisiana Public Health Institute in March, where the TFL will reveal the results of air quality testing they have been conducting since December 2011. According to Newton, Hammond is now being targeted for movement towards a smoke-free environment indoors.
PEEPS has also welcomed a new advisor this semester. Courtney Harrington is a graduate of Southeastern in the field of kinesiology and health studies, has a master’s degree in health education, and is a certified peer educator. She and Wynn shared with students some of their views of the importance of peer education on Monday.
“You are going to have peers for the rest of your life,” said Wynn. “You never know who’s looking up to you.”

Share Button