Peer Referral connecting with students
If you’re looking for real answers, isn’t it best to ask someone who’s already been through the situation before you?
Such is the premise of Peer Referral, a service provided by the Arts & Science Advising Office that is run by students for students. Now in its second full year as a mobile cart service that roams throughout the University, Peer Referral reached a new high when it contacted over 1,400 students in the fall semester.
“It’s a great resource for students,” says third-year psychology major Avery Popien. “It acts as a sort of database of information that can be readily accessed at all times.”
Chris Wallace is one of three Peer Referral officers manning the cart this year and he identifies with Popien, not just because it’s part of his role, but also because he’s been where Popien and scores of other students have been before him. University can be an intimidating experience and finding help isn’t always easy, especially from someone who understands exactly what you’re experiencing.
“My academic career started out on rather shaky ground,” says Wallace. “I was a typical ignorant student. I made many mistakes and ventured down many complicated paths that I could have avoided had I simply taken the initiative to do one simple thing: ask questions.”
He eventually received some good advice and it came from a friend, a peer. Wallace went to the Arts & Science Advising office and was able to get back on track, both academically and socially.
“I began to realize that there were so many ways to enrich my academic experience by creating courses, volunteering, joining and creating clubs, working with co-operative education, and so much more,” says Wallace. “I took control of my education.”
Wallace says it is easy to slip through the cracks in university and it can be difficult for students to find the many resources that are there to help them succeed.
“Many students have complications within their program but are too intimidated and overwhelmed to seek answers,” he says. “We’re here with practical solutions for them and it’s given in a relaxed, laid-back manner.”
Peer Referral will be holding an Open House event Wednesday, Mar. 3 from 12:30 to 5 p.m. in E690. Students, staff and faculty are encouraged to attend, as a variety of representatives from throughout campus will take part.