At the start of fall quarter, the University Community Service Center (UCSC) implemented a new peer advising program that allows leaders of Community Service RSOs (CSRSOs) to gain valuable support and advice from UCSC student interns.
“We had wanted to start peer advising for CSRSOs for some time, but had the opportunity to develop it over this past summer and implement it this fall,” Nick Currie, Community Service Advisor at the UCSC, said. “It is in place to give student leaders more spaces for connection to the support networks we offer and to the larger network of social change happening across campus.”
Second-year Yael Caplan serves as one of two peer advisors available to the executive boards of community service RSOs.
“As peer advisors, [second-year Amy Treber] and I meet with RSO leaders to discuss challenges, questions, new ideas, or whatever else may be on their minds,” she said.
Treber and Caplan also work with RSO leaders to plan events, navigate school regulations for on-campus organizations, and set goals for future projects.
Caplan said that she feels that the program helps to better bridge the gap between the UCSC and the student body by giving student leaders the opportunity to collaborate with peers who are knowledgeable about the UCSC’s resources and policies, as opposed to University staff members who are not.
“As students, Amy and I can draw on a different set of skills and experiences that can be helpful to CSRSOs,” she said.
According to Currie, CSRSO leaders opted-in to be peer advised at the beginning of the quarter. Caplan and Treber each advise six student leaders, in total serving 12 of UChicago’s 54 active CSRSOs.
“We are just a few weeks in and I’m already so proud of the two peer advisors and so excited to learn from them about what kinds of resources and support they think we can offer CSRSO leaders in the future,” Currie said.
Though the formal advising program is full through the rest of the quarter, Currie said that the peer advisers are resources that are available to any student or RSO who is interested in delving into community service and social change efforts on campus.
Caplan said that she already sees improvements in the CSRSO community as a result of the peer advising program.
“We have an amazing network of community service RSOs on campus who are doing incredibly important work,” she said. “I hope that the peer advising program will help to strengthen their presence and make sure that they have as much support as possible.”