REAL Peer Educators is a unique group at Stevenson that promotes health, safety and wellness. REAL stands for “Responsible Education Awareness Leaders.” Covering topics from sexual assault to alcohol and drugs, REAL Peer Educators gives students a chance to talk about sensitive issues and gain insight from their peers.
Brenda Boggs, nurse practitioner at Stevenson University, manages and supervises REAL. She said, “…[students] are making decisions on who they are, and they’re gaining independence. I wanted to help get information out so they can make informed decisions.”
Going around to classrooms and collaborating with other clubs across campus are just some of the activities performed by REAL. The group also holds their own events on campus, including alcohol screening for students in April. During this event, REAL teams up with Phi Sigma Sigma and tests volunteer students for alcohol abuse. Free t-shirts are given to students who participate in the screening. Additionally, interactive activities are an important part of this event. A simulated drunk driving test is available for students to see what it would be like if they were to drive under the influence. Beer goggles are also available for students to try on to mimic how alcohol alters perception. This event offers information on the risks associated with alcohol abuse, which is a critical issue for college students.
New for REAL, this semester, is an escalation workshop designed to provide information on sexual assault and domestic violence. Topics of this workshop include information on what an abusive relationship is, how to get out of an abusive relationship and how to help others involved in abuse. A 45-minute video is included that focuses on male-on-female violence, specifically showcasing Yeardley Love, a 22- year-old female who was murdered by her ex-boyfriend while attending the University of Virginia.
Kaitlyn Rollyson, a member of REAL, said she joined the group because she was comfortable with speaking in front of people and wanted to use that to help and encourage students.
Knowledge of how to be safe in all aspects of life is very important, especially on a college campus. REAL allows students to converse comfortably about issues while learning preventive steps on how to live a healthy life. If you are interested in learning more about REAL, please contact Brenda Boggs at the Wellness Center.