Today’s students are anything but conventional; they belong to the largest generation in American history, known as Millennials. What truly defines this generation is their shared experience with the rapid increase in technological advances. With tools like iPods, social networking, and text messaging, a new kind of student has arrived on campus. Millennials spend almost 15 hours a day interacting with various media and communications technologies, and are efficient at multitasking, “consuming 11 hours of media in a six hour span. In addition to their love for technology they have strong desires to stay connected to friends and family while on campus. Much of what we do at PHE is unconventional as compared to other student organizations in order to reach this ”new kind of student.”
Students involved in PHE benefit greatly from our hands on practical approach to educating students on how to make wise choices. Finding areas that are of interest to them and relevant to their field of study provides students the experience they need to persist at UNK. This allows us to contextualize our messages to a mass audience while still maintaining a level of authenticity. This is evident in our students learning skills that range from public speaking to website development. Students are also encouraged to take part in the development programs as no message is disseminated without the students’approval. This ensures that it is relevant, effective and nonthreatening to the student body.
Using current trends and technologies to stay connected, our program meets students where they are at, making it easier to educate and encourage them on wise decision making. In 2011 at the Nebraska Collegiate Consortium held in Lincoln, NE, guest speaker Peter Lake reaffirmed our approach when he stated,
Students are disengaged and poor planners, so how do we engage them? We need to craft a master plan that provides students with an experience which gives them purpose. We need to connect their values with things they can do on campus.
Peer Health Educators are UNK students who have dedicated time and resources to our ongoing educational efforts on campus. The number of students actively involved with our program varies from semester to semester, typically ranging from, but not limited to 3-6 students per semester.