Students from the Springfield College Student Advocates for Wellness recently presented information on the health risks of vaping at the National Association of Student Personnel Administrator (NASPA) General Assembly in Baltimore, Md. The NASPA General Assembly is the annual national peer education conference of the organization. Springfield College Assistant Director for Alcohol and Other Drug Education and Health Promotion Christine Johnston led the team.
As part of the General Assembly, the students presented a breakout session titled, “Escape the Vape: A Public Health Crisis,” which highlighted the programs that the Student Advocates for Wellness have initiated on the Springfield College campus to bring awareness regarding the health risks of vaping. More than 50 health promotion peers attended the presentation from colleges and universities throughout the country. The session included a lively discussion and many requests to share materials of how Springfield College faculty and staff are educating their students about this important health topic.
“Students have worked on the presentation since the summer when they came up with the topic of the dangers of vaping to discuss at the conference,” said Johnston. “I am so proud of the job they did, and they received so much positive feedback from their peers with just how impressive their presentation was.”
Student Advocates for Wellness team members Sarah Hogan (junior, sports biology), Allison Leary (junior, physical therapy), Grace Pedersen (junior, English and elementary education/special education), and April Phelps (junior, physician assistant) presented as a group at the conference.
“We wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to discuss such an important topic in front of 40-50 people. It was just a great experience for us from which to learn,” said Phelps. “Attendees asked questions and it was a great learning experience to have to think of the answers right on the spot.”
As part of the presentation, the students had to make sure they were up-to-date with the latest data results and information about the vaping crisis, including associated risks, new health outbreaks, and actions campuses are taking to combat the issue.
“So much of the data that is available on this topic has changed over the last six to eight months, so we were making sure we were updating our presentation right up until the night before the conference,” said Hogan.
The team submitted a formal program proposal that went through an extensive approval process with only the top proposals nationwide being selected.
“We received so much positive feedback following the presentation, and it was exciting to hear that the efforts we are making to educate our students at Springfield College about this important vaping health issue is setting the standard for how colleges and universities should be addressing this issue,” said Leary.
The Student Advocates for Wellness is supported by the Springfield College Student Government Association and Campus Recreation.
Springfield College is an independent, nonprofit, coeducational institution founded in 1885. Approximately 4,100 students, including 2,500 full-time undergraduate students, study at its main campus in Springfield, Mass., and at its regional campuses across the country. Springfield College inspires students through the guiding principles of its Humanics philosophy – educating in spirit, mind, and body for leadership in service to others.