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New peer program created to spread alcohol and drug awareness

The university’s Alcohol and Drug Education Center is developing a new peer education program starting this spring called Frogs CARE to increase alcohol and drug awareness across campus.

Yvonne Giovanis, associate director of the Alcohol and Drug Education Center and head of the program, said Frogs CARE stands for Frogs Committed to Advocacy, Responsibility and Education and will consist of certified peer educators who will offer presentations to their peers about health and wellness with an emphasis on drugs and alcohol. Giovanis said she currently gives presentations to residence halls and campus organizations that request them, and the peer educators would take on the responsibility of making presentations.

She said that a peer education program has not been available to students from the center for at least five years.

Giovanis said there are national standards set for alcohol and drug education centers through an organization called the BACCHUS Network, a nonprofit organization that promotes student leadership that focuses on health and safety education. She said the network’s recommendation to have a peer education group helped ADE see the need to reestablish one on campus.

She said the “cumulative group knowledge” of students about drugs and alcohol on campus can be increased.

“It’s very relevant to college students for the practical knowledge they can gain while being at a university,” Giovanis said. “You’re not necessarily going to get knowledge about Adderall or marijuana or predatory drugs in your history class or your economics class, but that’s something that we think is very important for students to know about.”

Michaela Bradshaw, a sophomore strategic communications major, said she applied because she wants a career that involves making presentations. She said she hopes to influence students on campus who normally would not have access to that information.

The student peer educators will be trained and certified through next semester in nine modules ranging from listening and responding skills to programming and presentation skills using the Certified Peer Education Program from the BACCHUS Network, which is based out of Denver, Giovanis wrote in an e-mail. Giovanis wrote students will also receive training in specific topics like alcohol and drinking, impaired driving and prescription drugs. They will begin giving presentations to other students as early as next fall.

Giovanis said ideal peer educators would have an interest in health and wellness issues and have a willingness or desire to share that information with others, adding that Frogs CARE is “going to be only bound by (the peer educators’) desire and imagination.” She said she wants between six to 10 peer educators to be accepted this spring, but wants to eventually grow the program to include 20 to 25 educators.

Sophomore political science major Liz Doerr said she heard a presentation by Giovanis about the new program at her weekly Panhellenic Council meeting and said she was surprised to learn that the university has not had a peer education program in recent years of a similar caliber to Frogs CARE. She said even her high school offered a service of peer educators.

“It’s better to have a peer come talk to you instead of always adults,” Doerr said.

Emily Martin, a sophomore fashion merchandising major, was also present at the meeting and said it sounds like a good cause. However there would be a big time commitment for the peer educators.

Giovanis said the program will require a time commitment of about five hours a week. She said applicants need to maintain a 2.25 GPA and be either a sophomore, junior or senior in the fall.

Applications are due by April 2 and are available online at

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