Full Steam Ahead: Maintaining Momentum for Peer Education Post-General Assembly


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Author
Holly Godden, Wellness Educator and Healthy Rebels Advisor, UNLV

Published
February 3, 2017


General Assembly is an ideal setting for student growth and development. As an opportunity for student leaders to learn from their peers and present to a national audience on important wellness topics, many students return to campus brimming with ideas but unsure how to put them into practice. As we return to our campuses after the excitement and learning at General Assembly, advisors may wonder what we can do to maintain leadership momentum in our peer education programs moving forward. Here are some tips on promoting and maintaining student engagement in our local programs after GA:

It begins before the conference! Talk up GA leadership, development, and educational opportunities with your leaders beforehand, and have returners share testimonials or host a Q&A presentation in a peer educator meeting in September or October. My new attendees go into GA expecting an amazing experience due to rave reviews from returners, which helps maximize the learning and engagement process during GA.

- Don’t overwhelm your leaders: Taking lots of notes during GA on ideas you would like to bring back to your campus can help you make the most of your experience. It is also easy to come back to campus (or start the conversation during the assembly) with so many ideas that you overwhelm yourself and your very busy students! To stay effective, keep the focus on the students’ own thoughts, learning, and outcomes during GA. Once back on campus, organize your notes before sharing your thoughts. Categorize notes and ideas into two or three larger topic areas for discussion that are highly pertinent to your group/campus, and focus on those areas during debriefing.

- Debrief & plan: Have a debriefing meeting with your program’s attendees within the first two weeks of returning to campus. Structure this meeting as a facilitated conversation, where you and your students can share ideas and priorities. Utilize your students’ thoughts as a central organizing principle to create a proposal for next steps.

- Encourage student leadership: Suggest a follow-up conversation with your group’s whole leadership team. Encourage attendees to lead this conversation themselves! This is a space for attendees to bring up insights gained at GA, as well as the proposal that you created during the initial debriefing. Workshop the proposal to create a strategic plan moving forward: program ideas, strategic learning outcomes, items to table for the future, items to research further, marketing and evaluation plans—and a timeline to accomplish everything. The leadership team can continue the conversation with the whole group, discussing and updating the strategic plan & timeline with the group and creating initiative committees.

GA can be a catalyst for student leadership, creative programming applications, and group development. With a little organization and planning, advisors can support students in maintaining momentum after GA. Utilizing learning outcomes from GA from a student-led perspective is the key to success.

Continue the conversation below – what are some ways you maintain momentum after returning from General Assembly?

Is there an issue on campus you would like to hear more about? Email the BACCHUS Team with your suggestions!

The B-log highlights important peer education advising concepts. These “essentials” articles are featured here periodically, though you can always find them archived on the BACCHUS Homepage.


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