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Back row, left to right: Tim Meloy (Chicago, IL), senior, political science; Emmanuel Olatunji (Modakeke Ife Osun, Nigeria), master's candidate, health sciences; Kayla Riedle (Oakford, IL), freshman, special education; Selina Mannion (Bardolph, IL), senior, accountancy; Tariq Qaisrani (Highland, IN), master's candidate, communication. Middle row, left to right: Nicole Kieffer (Edwardsville, IL), senior, psychology; Ellen Miller (Evergreen Park, IL), senior, K-12 physical education; Morgan Clark (Astoria, IL), sophomore, biology (medical sciences); Megan Williams (Bluffs, IL), master's candidate, health sciences; Molly McKeogh (Blue Bell, PA), master's candidate, sport management. Front row, left to right: Jaclyn Pierucci (Chicago, IL), sophomore, dietetics; Allison Gilbert (West Salem, WI), senior, health sciences; Richelle Gomez (McHenry, IL), junior, dietetics; and Victoria Davis (Gurnee, IL), freshman, history.
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Students T.A.L.K. Recruiting Peer Educators at Jan. 25 Student Activities Fair

January 20, 2012

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MACOMB, IL - - Get involved and develop your leadership skills by serving as a peer educator in Students T.A.L.K., the peer-education group that provides Western Illinois University student groups and students a valuable health education resource. Students T.A.L.K. -- T.A.L.K. stands for "teaching, awareness, learning and knowledge" – was formed in the 1990s through Beu Health Center's health education department.

The peer education group will have a booth at the Western Illinois University Student Activities Fair, which is slated from 3-5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25 in the University Union Grand Ballroom. The Students T.A.L.K. booth -- a purple and gold gazebo-like structure -- will be located in the Prairie Lounge (next to the University Union Grand Ballroom).

According to Molly McKeogh, a graduate assistant in Beu's health education department, the wellness concept is the foundation for the group's activities, which include an array of events and presentations, such as creating programs for groups who live in WIU's residence halls and in Greek residences. She noted that some of the Students T.A.L.K. programs include: Deconstructing the Hookup, Sex Jeopardy, Nutrition Jeopardy and Freeze Frame (a stress-management program).

"Student's T.A.L.K. is a great way to get involved on campus and make friends," McKeogh said. "The students who participate as peer educators talk and learn about things related to health, including physical (working out, eating habits, sex and relationships), as well as intellectual, financial, emotional, mental and spiritual health. Essentially, we talk about anything college students want to learn about themselves."

McKeogh added that participation enables the peer educators to meet students across campus and have the opportunity to bond with the other members of the group through weekly meetings, presenting programs and engaging in campus activities. She noted that students are provided with certified peer education training through the BACCHUS Network to prepare them for their roles as peer educators.

"The certification looks great on a résumé," McKeogh said. "But the biggest benefit is that as a peer educator, you get to work with a wide variety of people from many different majors, different age groups, personalities and backgrounds. This group, more so than other organizations on campus, does not require that you fit any other specification other than that you are happy to help others learn and like to learn from others yourself."

According to McKeogh, acceptance into the Students T.A.L.K. organization includes submitting an application, going through a brief interview and attending a welcome party. Applications are due by noon, Friday, Jan. 27 to the health education office in Seal Hall (east), room 212.

For more information, contact McKeogh at or JoAnn Hairston-Jones, health education coordinator, at

For more information about the Student Activities Fair, contact the student activities office at (309) 298-3232.

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