Student-Lead Organization Advocates For Health
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

Student-Lead Organization Advocates For Health

Educating and promoting health campus-wide.

Student-Lead Organization Advocates For Health

A 14-year-old Boston terrier, 6-year-old golden retriever and 9-year-old labradoodle are among a dozen therapy dogs prancing around groups of students who have gathered on the university quad at UNC Asheville for a little puppy love. This therapy dog event planned by PEPAH, or Peers Educating Peers and Advancing Health, brings this group of furry four-legged friends to campus once a month, offering a time for students to connect with each other, play with dogs of all ages and breeds and relieve stress.

By planning a variety of events similar to this one, PEPAH, a student-led organization that is partnered with the university’s Health and Counseling Center, seeks to educate and inspire students to take charge of their mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, social and sexual health. They also advocate for making healthy lifestyle choices by providing resources that promote a safe learning environment and connect students so they can empower each other.

Aside from bringing therapy dogs to campus, PEPAH is responsible for many popular campus outreach events that tackle a wide variety of health issues; health issues that students wouldn’t otherwise discuss or even be aware of. One of their most popular events is The Grey Area, an gathering that brings students together to talk about the importance of consent. During this event students are able to discuss the grey area between healthy, consensual sex and sexual assault and rape.

PEPAH is also in charge of the spring event Talk With a Sexologist. During this event, students are able to anonymously submit questions about their intimate relationships and have them answered by a professional sexologist. While this event educates students about maintaining healthy sexual relationships, it also opens up healthy communication about sex, something that students tend to shy away from.

Aside from their larger outreach events, PEPAH also conducts smaller tabling events. They often set up a table in front of the university dining hall and hand out free information pamphlets to students that pass by.

Organized in 2005, PEPAH began as PAWS, or Peers Advocating Wellness Strategies. It wasn’t until 2013 that the name was changed to PEPAH and the group transitioned from a student organization on campus to a student organization within the Health and Counseling Center. For the students involved with PEPAH, this means they are not required to write proposals or apply for funding through SAIL like other student organizations. Instead, they receive all of their funding from the Health and Counseling Center, giving them more access to resources.

PEPAH also has a full time staff member, Kenda Mullert, the health promotion coordinator at the Health and Counseling Center. Mullert has been leading the group since 2015 and focuses on establishing and maintaining structure within the organization while allowing it to remain student-focused and student-led.

“I want to give students the opportunity to own the health on our campus,” Mullert said.

Even with Mullert working to oversee all of the organization’s operations, PEPAH remains student-led because it is structured into three levels of involvement: PEPAH crew, PEPAH interns and PEPAH intern leaders.

PEPAH crew is comprised of students that work with the Health and Counseling Center and attend the tabling and outreach events organized by the PEPAH interns and intern leaders. Once a crew member has worked seven hours, they are given an official t-shirt and are invited to join the PEPAH intern meetings.

Grace King, a health and wellness promotion major at UNC Asheville and the crew coordinator of PEPAH, acts as the “middle man” between the crew and the interns by attending weekly intern meetings and passing on information to the crew about upcoming events.

PEPAH interns are certified peer educators that are organized into three focus groups: sexual awareness and healthy relationships, alcohol and substance abuse prevention and mental health awareness. Each group organizes tabling and outreach events on campus that connect peers and educate them on the different facets of health.

Justine Lockhart, a psychology major at UNC Asheville, is an intern in the mental health awareness focus group.

“I am very interested in mental health because I want to go into clinical psychology, Lockhart said. “By working with PEPAH I am educating others but also educating myself.”

Each focus group is lead by an intern leader. All intern leaders have completed PEPAH crew and a PEPAH internship and are recruited based off their commitment to PEPAH. Intern leaders are responsible for planning and executing outreach programs, working one-on-one with Health and Counseling Center staff and recruiting new members.

To become involved with PEPAH, students can apply to become a member of the crew at any point during the school year. Applications to become an intern are only available during early spring. More information regarding PEPAH can be found on the university’s Health and Counseling Center website.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Freshly popped buttered popcorn in your lap and a glass full of crisp Coca-Cola is at your side. All the lights are turned off and you are tucked into a cozy blanket. You have the whole day off and no responsibilities besides refilling your popcorn bucket. Now all you have to do is decide on what movie to watch, but you know one movie will not fulfill your need of relaxing all day. A movie marathon is the only answer to your problem. In case you did not know what movie series to start with, try a few of these.

Keep Reading... Show less
A Touch Of Teal

It's the oldest story in the world: one day a new tv show comes on and you fall in love with each character and their story. In 2003, the show "One Tree Hill" was born and stole the hearts of fans of many ages. Torn between the sweet, underdog Lucas and tough, popular boy Nathan, people became hooked through the family and relationship drama the characters went through.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

12 Starbucks Iced Drinks You NEED In Your Life

Must-try beverages brought to you by your local barista.


Be kind to your baristas, they can make you some pretty great drinks. With the temperature rising and the days getting longer, it's approaching the time to find your summer staple to keep you cool (and caffeinated) over the next few months.

Keep Reading... Show less

"Keeping Up With The Kardashians" is coming to an end after 20 seasons of intense drama, family bonding, and Scott Disick. It's sad for some and a relief for others who find the show way overhyped.

Keep Reading... Show less

Starbucks is known for its infamous coffee and espresso drinks, but they're definitely isn't enough love shown for the non-coffee drinks. Being a barista myself, I've come to try all of the following drinks. And let me tell you…they're amazing. So if you aren't a huge fan of coffee or if you're just sick of the same old same old, here are some new drinks to keep your inner white girl alive and thriving.

SEE MORE: Starbucks Has Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Cold Brew And OMG It Has Pink Foam

Keep Reading... Show less

What was usually buried at the bottom of my purse has now become a pocket essential — and I know I'm not alone in that.

It used to be something I'd use if I happened to be at a restaurant that ran out of soap in their bathroom, but now it's almost more essential to have on-hand at all times than my cell phone.

Keep Reading... Show less

The decision-makers of Yale's law students have invested in therapy dog sessions in order to reduce stress. In 2011, Yale Law Library had a sign-out sheet for their certified library dog. The 30-minute sessions were equipped with unconditional, stress-busting puppy love.

Law Librarian Blair Kauffman stated that the free, three-day pilot pet therapy program at Yale Law Library launched as "a positive addition to current services offered by the library."

Keep Reading... Show less

I have been working at Dunkin' Donuts for over two years, and during this time, I have progressed from regular crew member to crew coach, and finally, to shift leader. Among my great skills involving the job is my ability to deal with stressful situations, including awful customers. My boss has continuously pointed out the fact that I am able to handle these people with grace and kindness. She herself often finds that she gets snippy with rude customers, but somehow I am able to keep a straight face through these tough times.

Keep Reading... Show less

Let's be real here — sometimes essential oils and acknowledging all five senses (touch, see, hear, smell, taste) just don't cut it when you need to cope. It's those days when you have so much rage that you don't even know what to do with yourself, or those days when you physically cannot stop crying because of the most suffocating sadness, or all those other days when you are craving healthy coping mechanisms that actually work.

But before I let you in, we need to continue being real. I hope you are comforted with the knowledge that before I uncovered (or, even wanted to uncover) healthy mechanisms, I also went through my drought of horrible coping mechanisms. I have, and sometimes continue, to fall short of genuinely trying to help myself. It takes a lot of courage, and energy, to genuinely try and help yourself.

Keep Reading... Show less

How To Win 'Clue' Every Time

The strategy that (kinda) never fails.


Who doesn't love a fun, classic game of "Clue"? Whether you're a seasoned professional or just think that Professor Plum is the philosophy prof in the building across campus, you may learn something from the following trial-and-error strategy that has taken years (read: a couple of games) to perfect. Instead of partaking in an argument about how Colonel Mustard's name is pronounced, start strategizing and don't let the die determine your fate!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments