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Promoting peer support

[Peer Helpers]
Cassandra de Bartok, Mentor Program Coordinator, makes a presentation during foundational training by the Division of Student Affairs to help them prepare for their on-campus roles. (University Communications)

More than 100 students who will be working with their peers in the Division of Student Affairs next year, came together for a day of foundational training to help them prepare for their on-campus roles. 

Student staff and student leaders help peers in various ways, including providing transition programming for first-year students and for second-year students returning from the BISC, academic skills workshops, English-language conversation groups, peer mentorship, and specialized support for self-identified Indigenous students and varsity student-athletes.

“The Division of Student Affairs is committed to creating an environment that encourages and facilitates the personal and professional development of its student staff and volunteers,” says Cassandra de Bartok, Mentor Program Coordinator. “We were excited to bring so many of our students together to network and to learn more about student development theory, communications skills, helping relationships, diversity and inclusion, and the resources available across campus so they can make effective referrals when working with their peers.”

The sessions were designed to help students better understand the requirements and importance of their peer helper roles, develop core skills to promote their success, connect with other peer helpers, and get excited about the contributions they will be making to the student learning experience. 

“Core Peer Training was fun, informative and interactive,” says Alexandra Bosco (Ed’19), Peer Learning Assistant in Student Academic Success Services. “The information that I learned will be beneficial, not only in my role as a peer learning assistant, but also in other helping roles, in addition to everyday interactions. Having the opportunity to learn and practice communications skills, for example, among peers in a safe and supportive environment was really beneficial and helped build self-confidence, knowing that you can use these skills in the future."

For more information about the Division of Student Affairs’ peer helper programs, visit the Department of Students Affairs website.