Team of over 50 students spreads word about health to their peers

Providing information to York students on health-related issues can be a challenge. Fortunately, Health Education & Promotion has no trouble, thanks to a team of over 50 enthusiastic peer health educators. Boldly dressed in their green shirts, this bright and sparkly team has already started spreading the word about health around campus.

Right: Over 50 students signed up to be peer health educators through Health Education & Promotion

During orientation week alone, the health education team served thousands of mocktails, played numerous rounds of nutrition jeopardy, connected with dozens of dons and TAs, and showed hundreds of students how to use a condom and make a dental dam. The team also wheeled in the wheel of wellness for new students at York Day, made news by showing students how they could help a friend who has passed out, and mellowed out the masses during Mellow Move In. In addition, health education arranged for the presentation of  “1 in 4”, a sexual assault prevention education program from the US presented as part of orientation. York was the first school in Canada to host this program.

Left: Peer health educators provide massages to stressed-out students

The peer health educators are outgoing, friendly and dedicated students who are passionate about helping their peers lead healthier lives while at school and developing healthy habits to take with them when they leave. Health education is divided into six different teams each focusing on their own hot health topic – sexual health and healthy relationships, alcohol and drug awareness, active living, nutrition, stress management and smoking cessation. Each team has their own set of trivia games and presentations and each is responsible for hosting health education’s signature events, including SafeSource, Wellness Wednesday and Mellow Mondays.

Right: Peer health educators show off some of the health games they play with other students

Already this term Health Education & Promotion has hosted several successful events. The safe pubbing kiosk, SafeSource, started a successful year by being present at both their regular hangout The Source, located just outside the Underground, and Vanier’s first pub night of the year. Mellow Monday, hosted by the stress management team, has returned to Room 307 of the Student Centre to provide students with a stress-free spot to relax with games, crafts, snacks and free massages. And Wellness Wednesday kicked off the year with the Leave the Pack Behind team and the Stress Management team holding court and providing smoking cessation and stress management information to students.

This year, Health Education & Promotion has created a new program to further reach out to the York community. Health Ed in Rez was created to directly connect residence life coordinators, dons and programmers with the peer health educators. With a peer health educator in every residence, the Health Ed in Rez program is helping increase the number of health focused programs in residence, and making York’s residences a healthier place to live. 

Health Education & Promotion is in Room S172, South Ross Building, Keele campus. For more information, check out one of their many signature events, “HealthEd@York” on Facebook or visit the Health Education & Promotion Web site.

Article submitted to YFile by Claire Simpson, a third-year English major at York.