Peer-led training offered to student leaders for first time

Media Credit: Andrew Goodman | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Jay Fondin, the education chair for Allied in Pride, left, and Ciaran Lithgow, political affairs chair for Allied in Pride, right, took part in the Student Organization Leadership Trainings on Sunday.

Updated: Sept. 14, 2015 at 3:25 p.m.
This year, student leaders will be trained by other student leaders.

For the first time, the Center for Student Engagement is including student-led sessions in its annual fall student leadership organization training, a move student leaders and administrators say helps make the sessions more engaging. Students from groups like GW Mock Trial and Students Against Sexual Assault held five sessions for student leaders this past weekend.

Assistant Director for Student Involvement and Greek Life Anne Graham said she and others leading the training decided to include a peer-led model when they considered the success of peer education.

“The proven effectiveness of peer-led education motivated the CSE to seek student presenters this year, and we are thrilled that these student leaders are willing to share their knowledge and practical experience with the broader community of GW student organizations,” Graham said.

Resident advisers were tasked with sharing more information about preventing and responding to sexual assault this year.

Students who led sessions at Sunday’s training were selected through a CSE application process in July. All student organizations were offered the chance to lay out a possible presentation “based on their areas of interest and advocacy, or areas of expertise and experience as organizational leaders” Graham said.

The students could present information specific to their organizations’ work, or more generally on situations or skills for any student organization leader, Graham said.

Jay Fondin, the education chair of Allied in Pride and a former Hatchet cartoonist, said he is “thankful” for the opportunity to educate peers because they have unique experiences that staff members might not be able to relate to.

“We, unlike our professional staff colleagues, experience student life on the ground. Often this gives us a better understanding of the challenges faced by our peers that other student leaders can help mediate and accommodate,” he said.

Fondin led a training called “Queer 101,” which breaks down some of the terms from Allied in Pride’s Queer Guide. The guide, which was put together in September 2014, lists sexual orientations, genders and gender pronouns beyond “male” and “female,” and attempts to provide readers information about sexual and gender identities.

“The goal is to foster a safe space for our LGBTQ/queer colleagues and peers,” Fondin said. “I’m big on interactive training, so there will be a lot of audience participation.”

Members of GW Mock Trial spearheaded a training that focused on how student organizations can get travel funding from the CSE and gave tips on how to transition new students into positions when executive board members graduate.

Molly Hogan, the president of GW Mock Trial, said it would be easier for students to understand the processes when they are taught by other students, knowledge she wished she had when she joined the executive board of her organization her sophomore year.

“In some ways, it’ll be nice because you’re hearing from someone who has been through that process themselves, rather than from someone who has only experienced it from the back end of the system,” Hogan said.

This post was updated to reflect the following correction:
Due to outdated information on a CSE website, the Hatchet incorrectly reported that Anne Graham is a program coordinator. She is the assistant director for student involvement and Greek life. The Hatchet incorrectly reported that students led sexual assault prevention trainings at Colonial Inauguration this past summer. The sessions were led by staff. We regret this error.

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