This semester, the Academic Advising Center is introducing a new space to SVSU called the Peer Advocacy Center.
The Peer Advocacy Center is a space in the Office of Academic Advising that students can visit when they have questions or need help navigating college.
The idea of creating the center was first presented by Sarah Ward, retention specialist for First Year Programs.
“We wanted to have one landing location on campus that was just for students to walk in and ask any questions about college, resources, how to study, how to manage time, etc.,” Ward said.
She emphasized that the center is a judgment-free zone open to helping anyone with questions about college life at SVSU.
“This new space is an outward representation telling students that we’re here to help,” she said. “We will always do our best to answer questions, and if we don’t know the answer, we will connect them with the resource that they need here on campus.”
The space is staffed by peer advocates, who are SVSU students. Peer advocates previously only taught the CT100 introduction to college classes for freshmen, however, the new center allows peer advocates to be accessible to all students in an easy-to-locate space.
Gary Brasseur, director of the Academic Advising Center, spoke on the importance of peer advocates.
“[Our peer advocates] have the ability to sit down and tell students that it’s okay not to know what you’re doing,” he said.
One of the center’s peer advocates, social work senior Mckenzie Van Slambrook, talked about why she became a peer advocate.
“Having peer advocates gives students an opportunity to see an actual representation that college is not a linear experience,” she said. “When I had the opportunity to apply for this job, I really wanted to act as a resource for students, so that they could see that it is good to utilize your resources and ask questions around campus.”
Psychology senior Brooke Kilyk also spoke on what being a peer advocate means to her.
“[Being a peer advocate] allows us to share our own experiences and put our own personal twists on helping
students,” she said. “I think it’s really great because you get to share your own unique experience while helping a student that will also have their own unique experience.”
Graduate Assistant for First Year Programs and Retention Tyler Hanna elaborated on this.
“The center is giving students the help we wish we had on our first day, first week, or first semester on campus,” he said.
The center is open to helping all students, whether you are a freshman or nearing graduation. It is in Wickes 121.
Students are welcome to stop by for a free water bottle and planner as well as to ask any questions. Students are also invited to drop off RSO fliers and posters to advertise them to students in the center.