by InSoo Lee
Staff WriterEach new school year brings many changes. This year, Health Services and Counseling Services combined to create the Wellness Center. The two joined to increase efficiency and start programs such as Sewanee Wellness Action Group (SWAG).SWAG is a peer health educator program for students who are passionate and want positive change in many aspects of wellness. They aim to address emotional, spiritual, mental, nutritional, physical, environmental, and relationship wellness. Students who joined the SWAG training on August 29 and 30 all have a desire to make a positive impact on the campus by educating their fellow peers by going to different student organizations and presenting workshops and presentations with Sewanee Wellness Advisory Team (SWAT).
Dr. Peggy Farmer, a wellness expert, is a consultant to help with wellness at Sewanee. She was specifically brought to Sewanee to offer wellness programs. She said that SWAG’s purpose is to “create culture change by positively empowering students with evidence-based programming that inspires them to make healthy decisions about their health and well-being. SWAG peer health educators are the ambassadors of wellness and will model the behaviors that allow for optimal well-being and inspire fellow students to care for one another and the larger community.” As Farmer states, the critical aspect of SWAG is that the program will start with students who will inspire other students. This is important according to Sandy Milien (C’17), who took part in SWAG training. “By having students become the ambassadors of the change in the Sewanee culture as a whole, it will be more relatable than having adults do it. While adults may be experts in this concentration of work, they are not living what they talk about,” said Milien. SWAG in the purest form can be defined by Farmer as “a powerful opportunity and a support system to positively co-create a culture of wellness and empowerment… peer to peer, friend to friend, student to student.”