By Mackenzie Cutruzzula
One problem at a time, peer educators are helping students cope with college life in the freshman dorms.
Through a seven-week program, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) has spent Wednesday nights helping students deal with adversities from homesickness to time and stress management.
On Wednesday, Sept. 24, the sixth session of the program, peer educators shifted their focus to conflict management.
“We are here to talk about conflict and healthy ways to resolve it,” sophomore psychology major and peer educator Claudia Gargano said.
The educators asked the students to read printouts of different conflict management styles and choose the one that most closely related to how they dealt with conflict. The students then wrote their names and conflict styles on a poster that will be hung with similar posters from other weeks in the halls of Travers and Wolfe.
The peer educators took time to talk with students and ask how their transitions to the College are going. They asked if students were getting along with their roommates, or if they needed any advice on communicating better with their roommates. They even equipped each student with a four-step model for handling conflict.
The peer educators also act as liaisons between students and the resources they have on campus for solving different problems.
“Our role isn’t to be the help, but to tell students where they can get help,” junior psychology major and committee chair Nick Spanola said.
During the conflict management event, the peer educators wanted freshman to know about the resources available to them for dealing with roommate and other conflicts. In particular, CAPS advocated for the Residence Life Mediation Program. The Mediation Program is designed to let roommates work out their problems with a third party present to moderate the discussion. They help roommates write out the best solution possible for a successful living situation.
In the past, peer educators only hosted one or two events a month in the lounges of the freshmen residence halls. The seven-week program has been a significant opportunity for CAPS to reach freshmen. Their goal is to promote that students facing issues or conflicts have somewhere to turn for help throughout their college experience.
“Our best key to success is definitely just awareness being out there,” Spanola said.
CAPS is located in room 107 of Eickhoff Hall and offers services for group and individual emergency counseling. The peer educators are available for programs for organizations and classes throughout the year on a number of different topics, including stress management and mental health.
The last Freshman Year Experience peer education-tabling program will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 1, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. in Centennial Hall. The peer educators will be providing information on changes in relationships.