Marlboro College

News MARLBORO COLLEGE HEALTH AND WELLNESS PROGRAM NAMED NASPA REGIONAL PROGRAM OF THE YEAR

Marlboro, VT - (December 7, 2009) - For the second straight year, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) awarded Region I Program of the Year honors to Marlboro College for a new student life program.

This year, the Marlboro College WHIP program (Wellness and Health Informed Peers) was selected as the best program among those at more than 130 institutions in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont, as well as parts of Europe and Canada. In 2008, NASPA awarded Marlboro College's "Bridges" orientation program for first year students as Program of the Year for both the state of Vermont and Region I.

Marlboro College's Student Life Department conceived of WHIP (Wellness and Health Informed Peers) in the spring of 2009 to enable students to become peer educators for health and wellness topics on campus. Every Friday, a representative from an area institution, such as Planned Parenthood, Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, the Brattleboro Retreat and the AIDS Project of Southern Vermont, were invited to visit campus and conduct a two hour workshop.

WHIP initially attracted around six percent of Marlboro College's student population, said dean of students Ken Schneck. None of those students were seniors, however, and when classes resumed in the fall their enthusiasm helped increase student participation level to 11 percent.

"During the application week they were everywhere talking up the program to all of their peers," said Schneck. "Should only a fraction of those students choose to engage their peers in a dialogue on health and wellness issues, we still had 11 percent of our student population attend 18 hours of health education."

Schneck added that WHIP participants took an active role in restructuring orientation talks about sexual health and drug and alcohol use, resulting in programs that were better received by incoming students.

"I was able to call up several guest speakers from WHIP to talk about health and wellness issues with the freshman class," said senior Olivia Sanders. "The speakers, having already met with WHIP members, were more than happy to come and continue a conversation with a new population of students, some of whom applied to be in the new class of WHIPsters right after the presentation."

Re Gorham, Marlboro College's director of health services, identified an ancillary benefit of the program as an opportunity to increase "town-and-gown" relationships with the area, which can be a challenge for a campus in a remote location. "The presenters are experts in their areas and provide the students with excellent contacts from community organizations that both support and are supported by our small, rural college health center," said Gorham.

NASPA is the foremost professional association for student affairs administrators, faculty, and graduate and undergraduate students, with over 11,000 members at 1,400 campuses, and representing 29 countries.

For more information, please contact the Marlboro College Public Relations office at 802-251-7644 or pr@marlboro.edu.

For more than 60 years, Marlboro College has offered undergraduate education in the liberal arts. Its 330 undergraduate students enjoy an 8:1 student-faculty ratio, a voice in governing the community and individualized courses of study on a 300-acre campus in the hills of southern Vermont. Marlboro College has also offered graduate degrees and certificate programs for working adults at the Marlboro College Graduate School, located in downtown Brattleboro, Vermont, since 1997.

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