Peer advising program developed with CUSP

ReAnne Utemark

Sometimes the road to enrollment lacks the proper traffic signals.

Seniors Britain Stites, Bridget White and Sam Foreman have started a project through a Leadership Institute class to build a peer-advising program, Washburn University Academic Peer Advisors. They organize volunteers in the office of the Center of Undergraduate Studies and Programs to aid students who have questions about any part of the enrollment process. These questions range from how to drop or add a class to questions about professor’s expectations.

“We had a dual incentive to start this program,” said Stites, a political science major. “We needed to find a place we knew needed change. Some of our fellow students don’t have the knowledge or accessibility they need to navigate the seven seas of enrollment.”

The program was started last year, toward the end of the fall semester, one of the busiest times for enrollment. The program picked up at the beginning of the spring semester to continue to help students.

“The hardest part was finding out what role we would play,” said White, a biology major. “We also had a hard time getting our name known-letting people know we were here.”

Dannah Hartley, an academic advisor for CUSP, said she hopes to have the opportunity for students to be paid or to receive Transformational Experience credit in the future.

“Students helping other students can be more successful in meeting actual needs,” said Hartley. “Students gather information from the people sitting next to them in class. We take that and put it in a professional setting.”

A permanent schedule is still being worked out within the executive student staff, but peer advisors are currently available in the CUSP office starting at 11 a.m. Monday through Thursday.