VPAS peer educators answer students’ questions


Alex PalmieriNews Writer

Melissa Kissi said she hopes students will gain knowledge about what it means to be a peer educator.

“I hope they find out how to also bring it to Southern,” said Kissi, sexual assault and violence prevention specialist.

Kissi said all the events she hosts, she hopes students all gain something positive. She said she wants to get the Violence Prevention, Victim Advocacy and Support Center name out there so more students are aware that they are there for them.

“Students who come may be looking to be involved or learning something new,” said Kissi. “Whatever the case is, I just hope they learned something positive.”

With the VPAS Peer Educators Event being casual, Kissi said she wants everyone to know they are the student’s peers and they are here for everyone. She said she does not want students to be hesitant and ask them any questions they want.

“It is a fun group as well,” said Kissi. “Of course we talk about serious topics but we are just like you; we wanted to make this more casual.”

During the event, there was a basket filled with questions being passed out by the peers and students who attended. The questions were very general. This, Kissi said, was an attempt to let all the students who attended know that the VPAS peers are there for the students. It was a way for everyone to connect on a casual level.

Savanna Polica, a freshman elementary education major, said she has been to VPAS seminars before as well and she has enjoyed them. Polica said the VPAS group is very polite and she wanted to get to know them more.

“They’re just a cool group,” said Polica.

Doralis Cebalos, a freshman nursing major, said she came to the event because she went to a lot of VPAS meetings before. She said it is a group of people who genuinely care about the community and about Southern being safe.

“It’s a very safe environment,” said Cebalos. “They’re a super nice group of people; we always come to their events.”

Cebalos said this event was causal and it was nice to get to know other people. There were peers of the VPAS staff along with a few other people that attended. Cebalos said if there were other events hosted by VPAS along campus, she would attend.

“I like the group,” said Cebalos. “Hopefully one day I can be a part of it too. I like what they promote; it’s a safe environment, it’s things like that, and getting to know what to do in certain situations.”

Cody Peters, senior public health major, said she has not been involved with VPAS previous to the spring semester but when she was in search for her public health internship opportunities, she said the VPAS internship was a step in the right direction.

“I got it and I was very excited to start interning here,” said Peters.

Peters said she hopes the seminar lets students know that there are resources all over campus that they can reach out to.

“This is a source on campus that students can reach out to, so if you live on campus, it is easily accessible,” said Peters. “They’re so nice; they’re so caring; they really want to help you with your issues or whatever else you might be going through.”

Photo Credit: Alex Palmieri – News Writer

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