by: Chinyere Neale, Health Educator and PULSE Coordinator
PULSE (Peers Utilizing Leadership Skills for Education) is student organization sponsored by University Health Service. PULSE members inform fellow students about the vast resources available on campus that are designed to help them reach their full potential. PULSE is made up of students from all different majors and years, but they all have a deep concern for their communities, a commitment to social justice, and a willingness to be available and to listen to their peers. To spread their message, members use a variety of strategies including bulletin boards in the Res Halls and Greek Houses, small programs and information tables, and through individual interactions with students seeking support.
New members attend a training institute that includes veteran PULSE members and staff from various University departments. Members sign a confidentiality agreement and are trained in active listening so they are accessible and responsive to students in distress. Members are given tools such as a handbook, referral cards, white board for their door, and condom packs. A guided tour of UHS gives them first-hand knowledge of what UHS has to offer.
To help health educators learn about the kinds of issues PULSE members see in their communities, members log their conversations with other students about health and wellness topics online (protecting confidentiality). Last year over 700 logs were entered. Common issues included sleep problems, stress, diet and exercise, sexual health and assault, alcohol and drug use, and even homesickness. PULSE members referred students to CAPS, UHS, the Spectrum Center, and to many other campus offices for assistance.
While PULSE is directed by an executive board and has official leadership roles, EVERY PULSE member is a leader! Each member has the opportunity to make a difference while having fun and learning valuable skills that will serve their own aspirations well.
Interested in being a part of PULSE? Talk to your RA or Greek Chapter president or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Resident Assistants, or RAs, are encouraged to nominate natural leaders in their halls during the first few weeks of the fall semester.