August 12, 2015

Whitney N. Yarber, Communications Specialist

VSU Offers Peer Education Course

VALDOSTA – For more than 18 years, Valdosta State University has offered KARMA, a two-credit course taught in the fall and spring semesters that trains students to be peer educators.

KARMA, an acronym for Knowledge, Awareness, Respect, Maturity, and Achievement, is designed to teach students how to help a friend or neighbor who is struggling with substance abuse problems, eating disorders, HIV, AIDS, or other issues.

Throughout the semester, students are introduced to topics they need to have an awareness of to be effective peer educators. This is accomplished with lectures, videos, peer-to-peer exercises, and guest speakers. Once the lecture portion of the course is complete, students will select a topic they want to know more about, or perhaps have a history with, and develop a lesson plan for presenting in the safe environment of the class. Once they are comfortable with the material, students will be provided with speaking opportunities in VSU’s residence halls, classrooms, and other venues for them to address their peers on their topic.

“The appeal of KARMA is that the information — or concern — that is shared is peer-to-peer,” said Mark Williams, coordinator for Alcohol and Other Drug Education. “Students are not expected to be ‘experts’ on any particular topic but should be able to address issues from an informed perspective and be aware of the referral sources on campus and in the community available to our students.”

KARMA students will also support campus awareness events, including the National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, the Safe Spring Break Fair, and more.

Students who complete KARMA will have the opportunity to become a certified peer educator through the BACCHUS (Boosting Alcohol Consciousness Concerning the Health of University Students) Peer Education Network, a collegiate peer education initiative that supports the achievement of students’ academic and personal success by building skills in student leaders to address campus health and safety issues.

Classes begin Aug. 17.

Contact Mark Williams at or (229) 333-5800 for more information.

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