Hokie Wellness has five peer education programs: HEAT, IMPACT, FEELS, Sorority Body Project, and Financial Wellness Peer Educators. Students in these programs gain skills in leadership, responsibility, organization, and networking. Peer educators are motivated by personal experience and the desire to improve lifestyles for themselves and students around them. They are knowledgable about public health issues and develop self-confidence, public speaking skills, group facilitation, and communication skills. They also learn and practice effective problem solving, decision making, and program planning skills. They value the importance of sharing ideas and learning from others.
HEAT (Health Education and Awareness Team) members do public health outreach events and teach workshops about safer sexual behaviors, contraception, healthy eating choices, body image, sleep, vaping, helping friends in distress, and the impact of social media and devices, among others. HEAT events address issues that make the campus community healthier, safer, and more enjoyable. We also sponsor events like the Tobacco-Free Hokies T-Shirt Campaign, Wrap that Package Week, and the Body Matters Project.
The IMPACT (Initiating and Motivating a Positive Alcohol Culture Together) Peer Education and Prevention Team is an integral part of Hokie Wellness. The group creates an effective peer network that promotes positive alcohol choices by students and works to positively change the campus and community environment and culture. They promote the Party Positive message and support fellow Hokies through outreach and education.
Financial Wellness Peer Educators are trained on major aspects of personal financial management (budgeting, credit, student loans, financial planning/goal setting, and banking terminology) in addition to identifying campus resources for students to save money.
Sorority Body Project (SBP) Peer Educators are a peer education group trained by Hokie Wellness staff to facilitate workshops to sorority members on the healthy ideal, body acceptance and preventing eating disorders.
The Mental Health Initiatives Team is a group of trained graduate-level interns who facilitate educational workshops and outreach about mental health and emotional well-being. The goal of the Mental Health Initiatives Team is to help students learn tools / strategies to care for their emotional wellness.
FEELS facilitators are undergraduate or graduate students who will use ongoing training, supervision, & lived experiences to support their peers. They facilitate mental health peer support groups by fostering an atmosphere of empathy and connection.
Other Peer Education Programs
The following peer education programs are part of other departments at Virginia Tech (outside of Hokie Wellness)
The Peer Assistance for Learning program (PAL) is a volunteer opportunity for Virginia Tech students. In this role, PALs provide programmatic support for the counseling center by making and giving outreach presentations on various topics. They help spread information about mental health awareness and study skills.
The Sexual Assault and Violence Education by Students (SAVES) peer education team facilitates interactive and educational programs that address sexual assault, healthy relationships, stalking, and the effects of media on gender-based violence. SAVES peer educators are a team of specially trained students (women, men, and people of all genders) who care about our community and want to make it a safe place for everyone to work and live. We are a group of passionate, dedicated Hokies. From facilitating presentations for residence halls and student organizations to planning events like The Red Flag Campaign, SAVES strives to make a positive difference in the VT community.
The AWARE Club develops curriculum and facilitates educational programs for 6th, 7th and 8th grade girls at Blacksburg Middle School. Virginia Tech women lead discussions on topics such as healthy relationships, creativity, body image and self-esteem, as well as facilitate workshops and mentor young girls. Volunteers must attend weekly planning meetings and at least one session with students at the Middle School. Volunteers are commit to the program for an entire year.