Educational services offered by SCC
April 16, 2007 —
Few students and organizations at SVSU are aware of or have attempted to utilize all of the services provided by the Student Counseling Center. These services are looked at as a way of enhancing and empowering the lives of students, which is part of the Center's Mission Statement.
"Students can be self-referred or be referred by a friend, family member or SVSU staff or faculty member," says Tony Thomson, the Director of the SCC. "We provide a neutral and non judgmental environment to explore personal issues with students experiencing an array of emotional, health and substance abuse concerns."
"Often times, [sessions] result in referral to community agencies for further counseling and evaluation, but we feel that we are a great first step that many students are either unaware or apprehensive of," Thomson said. He also stressed the fact that the services of the SCC are both free and confidential.
This is only one form of service offered by the SCC. It also provides crisis intervention when notified by the University Police or Residential Life. Sometimes, this means being called out at all hours of the day or on weekends.
Another highlight of the SCC is the Peer Education Program. Peer Educators are students sponsored by the BACCHUS Network (bacchusgamma.org). Peer Educators receive specialized training in substance abuse, sexual assault and mental health. "They are students that want the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of their peers," Thomson said. "While most of our [Educators] tend to be studying fields such as social work, education, nursing and psychology, we also have students majoring in other areas."
"My involvement with the SCC has made me aware of how important it is to utilize the resources around you," said social work senior Chris Cain. "The SCC is loaded with resources that allow any person to be successful here at SVSU."
Peer Educators are often directly involved with the various campus outreach programs. Some of these programs are the current activities surrounding Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the 1-in-4 Program, the Alcohol & Drug Abuse Prevention Team, the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Event held last fall, among others. They also bring in speakers every semester that discuss issues surrounding sexual assault, substance abuse, and self-awareness.
Peer Educator political science junior Steve Lewitzke is one of the members of the 1-in-4 Program, which he considers to be one of his most worthwhile experiences as an educator.
"We show men what they can do to prevent the rape and sexual violence against [our loved ones] and just females in general," Lewitzke said. "Prevention and education is a powerful merger."
The various outreach programs headed by the Peer Educators include classroom presentations or special workshops held with fraternities, sororities, other student organizations, resident students or student athletes.
These programs are meant to raise awareness and decrease the stigma associated with mental health, substance abuse or sexual assault.
"Our society today is increasing in encouraging people to take care of their physical health," Thomson said, "but there's still work to be done in encouraging people to take care of their emotional health."
Thomson and Peer Educators see the SCC and the various programs, activities and events it offers as a pathway to this form of encouragement specifically orientated toward college life.
"The SCC offers experiences and events that attempt to involve and bring awareness to the community as a whole with regards to issues specific to the college experience," said creative writing sophomore Kristin Warack.
Thomson also sees the SCC as an outlet students can utilize to help them get through the difficulties of college.
"Unfortunately, life stressors often have an impact on students' academic performance," Thomson said. "We want to help students help themselves."