Creating a Peer Helper Team

What are Peer Helpers?

Peer Helpers have been an integral part of the University of Guelph's service model since 1984. The Peer Helping role goes beyond simple voluntary service: through intentionally designed service-learning placements, students engaged as Peer Helpers have the opportunity to develop transferable employability skills while receiving coaching from campus professional staff or faculty. In recognition of the significant level of learning Peer Helpers undergo while acting in their role, the Program was formally recognized as a key feature of the University's experiential learning continuum in 2002 through the institution of the UNIV*1250/UNIV*1260 and UNIV*2250/UNIV*2260 course series.

What can Peer Helpers do in my department?

Peer Helpers can be involved in many aspects of a department's programming and services. The role of the Peer Helper is customized to the department, so each placement is different from each other.

Some example of what Peer Helpers do across campus include:

  • working with students one-on-one and in groups
  • developing and presenting workshops
  • planing programs and events
  • creating resources, gathering and distributing information
  • referring students to campus and community resources
  • serving on committees and task groups
  • writing proposals and reports

The are many possibilities for how Peer Helpers can be involved in your department, provided that:

  • they are not replacing current or past job opportunities
  • they are provided with opportunities that help them learn and grow
  • they are not just completing administrative tasks
  • they are interacting directly with fellow students

How long does it take to set up a team?

Depending on when the process begins, it typically takes about least two semesters to get a new Peer Helper Team up and running. The first semester will be dedicated to setting up the Peer Helper placement and the second semester will be dedicated to recruiting students to join the team. 

How do I get more information?

If you are interested in exploring the possibility of having Peer Helpers in your department, contact the Coordinator of Experiential Learning Programs, Daniel Poulin (dpoulin@uoguelph.ca).