SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield College Student Advocates for Wellness team recently received the Outstanding Peer Education Program Award at the annual National Assoc. of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) general-assembly peer-education conference.
“This award is especially meaningful because it represents creative programming that had to be accomplished in a way that was safe and still important during a global pandemic,” said Christine Johnston, Springfield College’s assistant director of Alcohol & Other Drug Education and Health Promotion.
The Springfield College team was recognized for their dedication to the “Asking for a Friend” Instagram program they expanded during the pandemic, which allowed students to submit questions weekly that pertained to student wellness, with the questions answered in real time through Instagram.
“The Asking for a Friend program was started several years ago when one of the former Student Advocates for Wellness came to the group looking for a way to answer all the questions she was receiving,” Johnston said. “The team decided to use Instagram stories as a way to address the questions, and each week, they have been answering questions online. The topics range, and often include mental health, relationship issues, stress, substance use, sexual health, and campus-life questions. Students can follow @sc_studentadvocates to submit questions and view the stories, or students can drop them anonymously into an ‘Asking for a Friend’ jar, available at most of the team’s programs.”
This marks the second consecutive national award for Student Advocates for Wellness. In 2020, they were named the NASPA Outstanding Peer Education Group.
“I am honored that this special group of students have been chosen as a national award recipient by NASPA two years in a row,” Johnston said. “We are beyond lucky to have this team serving the health and wellness needs of our campus.”
The current Student Advocates for Wellness team consists of Myah Baird, Lexie Carroccio, Jack Costa, Hannah Day, Gabby DeRose, Erin Duffy, Patrick Hall, Katie Kelly, Pam Marino, Katelee McCormic, Annalee Pagliaro, Rachel Perry, Kaitlyn Rego, Arianna Vessicchio, and Chalan Whelan, and is supervised by Johnston and GA Rahab Moktan. This year’s award is also shared with 2021 recent graduates Allison Leary, Sarah Hogan, Leah Mills, Garrett Ossolinski, April Phelps, Grace Pedersen, and GA Kelsi Baker.