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New Health Education and Prevention program coordinator brings fresh perspective to Colorado State University-Pueblo

photo courtesy of csupueblo.edu
photo courtesy of csupueblo.edu
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CSU-Pueblo Counceling Center

CSU-Pueblo alumna Sarah Lawson has taken over the reigns from Quatisha Franklin as coordinator of the college’s Health Education and Prevention program.

Lawson, who is currently pursuing a master’s degree in marketing from Regis University has worked closely with Franklin as graduate assistant before taking over the role as coordinator at the beginning of April.

The HEP program focuses on the education and prevention of drug and alcohol abuse among CSU-Pueblo students. Students may be mandated to complete an assessment and educational intervention track with the HEP prevention coordinator as a result of violating the college’s drug and alcohol policy.

“Bystander intervention is a huge thing that comes out of this office. It’s better to be proactive as opposed to being reactive,” Lawson said.  She wants students to be educated on how to deal with potentially life threatening situations.

The program incorporates workshops and opportunities for direct engagement in order to educate students on the dangers of drug abuse and binge drinking, and to equip them with the coping skills to handle adverse situations.

“Presentations are a key component that will remain part of what we will be doing, but the tabling and just getting out there seeing students and getting them involved is huge,” she said.

One of the activities offered to students during the spring is Late Night at the Rec, which is geared towards providing students with opportunities to engage with the peers in a positive setting.

Lawson works closely with Carol Daugherty, the director of the CSU-Pueblo Student Health Services Department, who is her direct supervisor.

Action plans for the fall semester include revamping and placing more focus on the Healing from Addiction through Resources and Teaching program.

The team’s focus will be on providing more effective and visually appealing marketing approaches for the HART program, instead of printed statistics. “It is much harder for students to relate to a statistic than to a story,” Lawson said.

Other HEP program incentives will require volunteer student involvement, including Protecting the Pack, a student-oriented designated driver campaign, and the SOUL Peer Educator Group – peer-to-peer support groups for students in distress.

The HEP social norming campaign includes the Even Zombies Know race – an obstacle course with a zombie theme where participants, including students and faculty, compete for gift cards and parking passes. The event is scheduled to take place during fall orientation week.

The main focus of the HEP team is on providing students with the tools required that will ensure their success at CSU-Pueblo and after they graduate.

“I definitely think that working with students in higher education you have to stay up to date with what’s going on,” she said.

For additional information on resources and services, students can contact the HEP program coordinator at 719-549-2121.