Student Leaders train peers on managing personal safety and well-being during orientation week.
Students at the University of Wollongong (UOW) have had their eyes opened to the importance of maintaining their personal safety through peer-led training workshops during orientation week.
A group of students starting their accommodation at UOW residences has undergone an alcohol and drug session, which forms part of the UniCAN program – a national initiative between AlcoCups and the Asia Pacific Association for Student Housing Officers (AACUHO) to Change Alcohol Norms.
The program aims to create and implement a holistic behavioural change model in universities to reduce alcohol-related incidents and promote responsible drinking.
As part of the training students experience a high level of physical dysfunction as they try on a pair of “beer goggles” simulating the severe effects of alcohol, impacting their ability to walk in a straight line or catch a ball.
Mary Sparks, Student Residence Manager of Bangalay, is the inaugural recipient of the UniCAN Leadership Award for 2017 for her demonstration of passion and commitment towards improving the residential experience for residents and staff and said it’s an honour to be recognised with this award.
“It’s deeply satisfying when you know your efforts are contributing to enhancing the education, safety and well-being of the students and staff as they carry out their university studies or work.
“I can’t emphasise enough the importance of ensuring our students are well-equipped with the tools and resources they need to assist them in preventing incidents and managing scenarios should they be faced with an issue on or off campus.
“UOW is committed to continuous improvement of training and education for both students and staff. We are always reviewing our processes and tweaking the trainings to ensure maximum relevance in line with changing technology and societal norms,” Ms Sparks said.
To ensure awareness of personal safety and acceptable behaviour is maintained, all incoming UOW student residents will complete an online induction module which includes information on consent, safety, well-being and support services available to them at UOW.
Student Leaders also receive training in general First Aid, about Wollongong Police and the current status of drug and alcohol issues in the community, the UOW initiated SafeZone app – an emergency security app available at all UOW campuses, social media bullying and harassment, the role of UOW Student Support Advisors and how to look after yourself.
UOW offers students and staff access to a range of additional free training programs including; Mental Health First Aid, incorporating violence prevention and consent training, Stepup Bystander Intervention, International Student Programs, Consent Matters and Full Stop Foundation’s Leadership Training on the prevention of gender-based violence in universities.