Oct 8, 2018 | Atlanta, GA
Interested in making a positive impact on Georgia Tech’s community? Apply to be a VOICE Peer Educator! VOICE Peer Educators are a cohort of students who are committed to ending sexual violence on Georgia Tech's campus. They are extensively trained on sexual violence prevention topics such as defining consent, sexual violence prevention and bystander intervention, healthy relationships, and survivor support. They will learn behavior change theory, effective public speaking, and curriculum development.
Cassie Bleick, a fourth-year Business Administration major entering into her third year as a peer educator, answered some questions about the program and its significance.
What inspired you to get involved with VOICE?
I think just knowing this is such an important issue, that I’m passionate about from personal experiences and seeing friends go through it. It’s something close to my heart that I want to make people aware of.
Can you tell me about peer educators? What does “peer education” look like?
So, we start with training. We’ll have Title IX coordinators come to talk about the administrative process, GTPD to talk about investigative process, speakers talk about sexual violence as a social justice issue—we basically just dive deep.
After training we start doing tabling. We table for Take Back the Night, Healthy Relationships Week, and right now its Domestic Violence Awareness month, so there’s things going on for that. We also hosted a coffee talk last year near Valentine’s day, where people came in and we facilitated conversations on relationships. So education is really whatever it needs to be.
We also give presentations for any organizations that request them. We do it to health classes, FASET, fraternities, and residence halls. We’re trying hard to reach out to student organizations. We cover “What is sexual violence?”, consent, bystander intervention, and supporting survivors.
How has your confidence grown (public speaker, leader on campus, within the movement)?
I think I have grown to be a more engaged citizen. I have participated in lobbying, protests, and conferences. I gave a presentation an outside conference called RespectCon with one of my other peer educators.
None of this is sponsored by VOICE. People within VOICE use our training outside the community. With VOICE training we understand legal rulings, what’s in place, what’s getting rolled back. We know the specifics. When people come and bring bills, we are able to read it and understand their effects.
Why do you think VOICE peer education is important to the GT community?
Because we need someone talking about these issues. If you don’t talk about it, you’ll see the numbers go down and it’ll just get wiped under the table. We still know this happens on our campus. There’s a reason for conversations and presentations. VOICE is here to facilitate those conversations to make sure people realize this is prevalent in our community.
How do you think it’s more effective since peer educators are students, not adults?
It’s like having your mom tell you about sex. No one will listen, it’s awkward. But when it’s another student, you can connect and talk about hinges you’re going through. We realize that some of this happens with underage drinking. Where you may feel uncomfortable telling that to an adult, we have more camaraderie with the students.
Why would you encourage people to apply to be a peer educator?
If you’re at all interested in this topic and want to make a difference and have the opportunity for fellowship, you should apply!
Be a part of the conversation. Sexual violence is a pervasive social problem. Join VOICE in its goal to end sexual violence on Georgia Tech’s campus. Apply to be a peer educator and make a positive impact on the Georgia Tech community.
All applicants will be contacted for an interview within a week of submitting their application to be a part of VOICE. All applicants will be notified at least 72 hours after their interview. All applicants MUST reserve November 5th 6-9pm and November 12th 6-9pm for training. Training is mandatory.
Interested students can apply at https://healthinitiatives.gatech.edu/voicepeered.