Sandler Center impacts students beyond campus

UM News, 04-12-2021

As the award-winning Sandler Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education continues to promote wellness and educate students on how to make responsible lifestyle choices, the center’s peer educators share how their University experience has been enhanced by their work on campus and in the community.
Photos courtesy of Sandler Center


The Dean of Students Office's Sandler Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Education offers a range of initiatives that help to foster an informed and healthy campus community. To ensure the center's health initiatives resonate with students, a team of peer educators and graduate assistants work throughout the year to develop student-centered campaigns and workshops.

Through their work with the center, these students develop transferable career skills that set these students up for success for whatever professional path they pursue after college.

Read what some of these students had to say about how their involvement with the center enhanced their in-classroom learning and development across a variety of academic fields of study.

Hope Cherian, a senior studying health management and policy, shared how her role as a peer educator helped her build valuable skills that she hopes will aid her in securing a job in the medical field after graduating.

“'I’m on the pre-med track, so I have this energy to want to help people and make sure everyone's healthy. This role just puts you in a great position as a student leader to be able to do that. Even virtually, we created programs and advocated for ourselves, which are both really important skills.”

Madison Darish, a senior studying exercise physiology, discussed how working collaboratively with fellow peer educators helped refine her communication skills, preparing her to work with future colleagues and patients.

“Teamwork and communication are really important at the center. I think one of the most valuable things I’ve learned is how to present my ideas in a cohesive, digestible manner to my peers. No matter what I do in my future, I’ll be able to respectfully give and receive feedback from others.”

Julie Erhardt, a junior majoring in business technology and business legal studies, shared the opportunities within her field of study that her experience at the center helped her land.

“As a business technology major, there’s a lot of valuable data analysis work at the Sandler Center. Being able to talk about my experience helped me get a summer internship in data analysis and product management.”

Erhardt’s collaborative work on the Sandler Center’s submission to the Drug Enforcement Administration's Red Ribbon Week PSA video contest granted a first-place award for the University and a $3,000 grand prize for the center.

Katy Haller, a second-year graduate student pursuing a master of science degree in public health, discussed how her role analyzing data helped familiarize herself with the student body and, in turn, improve the center's offerings.

“Being able to have a position at the Sandler Center has given me a really unique opportunity to get to know the University’s campus in a way other graduate students don’t. My work with peer educators allows me to come up with programs that are based on public health frameworks, many of which are things I learn in class.”

Students interested in joining the Sandler Center’s team as a peer educator can apply for the upcoming school year. Applications are due Monday, May 3.