Peer Advocate Program
No classes on Institute Holidays
Peer Advocate Description
A Peer Advocate is a student leader who is trained, through a weekly one-term course, in addressing listening skills and mental health issues and is committed to enhancing the residential experiences of students at Caltech. Peer Advocates collaborate with campus partners to educate, support, and uphold campus community standards by providing resources and facilitating interactions that contribute to a positive living environment for all members of the community.
Training and Ongoing Consultation
After acceptance into the Peer Advocate Program, students take a one-term course. The course is focused on learning the listening and attending skills necessary to engage in a supportive interaction with a peer and on the common psychological difficulties faced by Caltech students and how to support those struggling with those concerns. After completion of the course, Peer Advocates will attend biweekly consultation meetings with the program advisors, Dr. Lee Coleman and Vanessa Tejada. This serves as an opportunity to ask questions, check in with class peers, and workshop challenging scenarios. These meetings will take place at noon and lunch will be provided.
SA081A Peer Advocates: This course is a 2 consecutive hours per week course that consists of a one-hour lecture component and a one-hour discussion section that includes experiential demonstration and practice of counseling skills learned in lecture. This course will expose you to the basic skills necessary to engage in a supportive consultation with a peer in distress. You will learn about basic listening and attending skills and, by the end of the quarter, will be trained in Campus Connect which provides you with the knowledge and skills necessary to engage with a peer who endorses suicidal thoughts. This course will also expose students to the different mental health concerns common to the university population and to Caltech and they will learn how to recognize and support their struggling peers in the role of peer advocate. Course topics include relationships and intimate partner violence, substance abuse, depression, eating disorders, LGBTQ issues, and/or grief and bereavement. As part of this course, you will also meet with Mark Stapf on a Saturday during the term to learn CPR/First Aid.