Peer Educators Welcome New Crew

Ava Compagnoni,

UCREW is the newest addition to the Office of Prevention and Advocacy (OPA) at Ursinus College that debuted this fall 2020. UCREW–Ursinus Cultivating Respect, Education, and Wellness–consists of a team of students who come together to educate their peers on health and wellness promotion, alcohol and drug education, and sexual misconduct prevention.

The UCREW application pool was competitive and tough. Eventually, seven students were selected out of the 20 plus that applied. These candidates now take on roles as Peer Educators, in which capacity they will share their knowledge and experience(s) with the campus-community in a variety of ways. These new peer educators vary across different class years, major/minors, sports, and other activities and affiliations. The selected students went through ten hours of training to become nationally-certified Peer Educators.

Brenna Trkula ’22, who majors in Psychology and minors in Film Studies and Media & Communications, and captains for the UC Women’s Tennis team, is a UCREW member. Her hopes of pursuing a career in therapy led her to apply for UCREW.

Trkula has already felt the impact of the team. “Throughout the first semester, the UCREW cohort underwent training to become certified peer educators. We aim to cultivate respect, education, and wellness. We have utilized harm reduction techniques by passing out drink koozies and condoms around the residence halls promoting safe education. Additionally, we post health promotion content on our social media,” she stated. Although UCREW is still fresh out of training, they are working hard to bring a new form of safety education to Ursinus students. “UCREW can definitely make a difference on campus by raising awareness about wellness, alcohol, and other drugs through [use of] evidence based and effective strategies,” Trkula said.

Overall, “being a peer educator is everything to me. Through our numerous training seminars and modules, I am now prepared to utilize health promotion/harm reduction techniques throughout Ursinus in order to contribute to the betterment of our community,” Trkula concluded.

Other Peer Educators also highlighted their experiences with UCREW so far:

“I’m excited to be a peer educator because it’s important to not only educate college students about safe drinking habits but also create an environment where all students feel comfortable with their decision pertaining to alcohol. I also hope to support the well-being of my classmates through providing and demonstrating health coping mechanisms for stress.” -Diane Imboden ‘23

“I am excited to be a peer educator. Through my experiences, I realize how important it is for people to be aware of how drugs and alcohol affect their body, their daily lives, their mental health, and their personal relationships. I believe with proper awareness, people will really start to think about the decisions they make on a daily basis.” -Timothy “TJ” Ayrer ’21.

“I hope to help educate the community on how to prioritize their health and wellness, as well as find healthy ways to cope with stress.” -Elizabeth “Lizzie” Elliott ’23.

“I’m very grateful for this opportunity to make a positive difference in the Ursinus community by promoting health awareness and overall wellness in relation to drugs and alcohol.” -Sophie Louis ’24.

‘“Becoming a Peer Educator was a great decision, especially since the topics of drug and alcohol use is such an important topic to me. I want people to feel comfortable and empowered by speaking about these topics, and hopefully we can decrease the stigma around substance abuse across campus.” -Gab Salamone ’21.

“I joined the peer education team because I want to try to make a positive impact on students and spread information that could potentially help them in situations.” -Elijah Ward ’21.

Follow UCREW on Instagram to learn more about their values and the members of the team @ursinus_ucrew.