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Wednesday, May 24, 2006
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POWER receives awards for outstanding performance

ATHENS, Ohio (May 24, 2006) -- POWER (Promoting Ohio University Wellness Education and Responsibility), Ohio University's volunteer peer health education organization, has been recognized regionally and nationally this year for its efforts.

POWER received the Regional Outstanding Network Affiliate Award at the Bacchus Peer Educator Network Region Seven Conference at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan.  Three of POWER's peer health education programs were featured presentations at the conference.

POWER also received the National Outstanding Network Affiliate Award at the Bacchus & Gamma Peer Education General Assembly in Orlando, Fla.

Criteria for the Outstanding Network Affiliate Award included the group's mission and documentation of how its programs and activities promote positive behavior change on their campus. Applicants also submit a calendar of events, audience numbers, evaluations from outside participants and photographs from activities.

As stated in the group's mission statement, POWER is committed to the development and promotion of healthy lifestyles in Ohio University students through peer-to-peer education.

POWER members believe that through educating themselves on current health and wellness issues, they are able to share information and resources with their peers and empower them to make positive lifestyle choices.  POWER accomplishes this through the planning of programs, activities and events that are educational and fun.

Carly Dennis, a senior health communication major, said she joined because she wanted to get involved with a health-related organization on campus. "POWER is extremely beneficial to students," she said.  "I have experienced so much personal growth and really learned a lot about myself through POWER."

POWER offers programs for student organizations, residence halls and classes on topics facing today's college students.  Topics include sexual health issues, sexual assault, alcohol and other drugs, nutrition and exercise, spirituality and stress management.

"Not a lot of groups are advocating low risk behaviors and choices rather than abstinence," said POWER member Corie Richards.  This message applies to sexual health, consuming alcohol and even nutrition. "I think that our message is most effective. We empower our peers with information to make low risk choices."  Richards is a junior journalism major.

Char Kopchick, director of Health Education and Wellness and an adviser to POWER, said, "Peer-to-peer education has been proved to be the most effective way to disseminate health information.  Students listen to their friends and our POWER members have an entire campus full of friends.  POWER members have a variety of academic majors, are involved in a wide array of student organizations and are always sharing information, whether it is through programming or informal conversations.  POWER members are the truly change agents on our campus."

To join POWER, students must submit an application during the winter quarter.  Accepted applicants are required to successfully complete a four-credit-hour course spring quarter and take a National Certification Peer Health Educator test.  Members begin programming in the fall.

For more information on scheduling a POWER program, please call the Department of Health and Wellness at 593-4742.

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Media Contact: Director of Media Services Jack Jeffery, (740) 597-1793 or jefferyj@ohio.edu

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