The peer advisors have been a prominent leadership group at Webb since 2011. Though they are a core leadership program at Webb, the group has significantly developed over the past few years. From adding more PAs to changing their outlook on health campaigns, the peer advisors are looking to improve the experience for all students next year so Webbies can enjoy fun activities and have a secure space to talk to someone.
“The major change that the PAs have looked at this year is their health campaigns,” said Melanie Bauman, Director of Counseling and Health Education. “Last year they overshot … so this year they tried to reach back and do things that were more ‘low level.’ Another thing that they wanted to change this year is the structure of the sibling meetings.”
The sibling meetings at the beginning of the year are now more often then they were before. But as the year goes by, freshmen meet less with their peer advisors.
These shifts have changed the peer advisor’s role on Webb’s campus. Freshmen are now beginning to see their PA as more of a present role in their lives.
“Chris [‘20] has made a huge impact on my life,” said Jacob Arias (‘23). “He motivates me to do good in school and be a better person in life in general.”
Caring for other students has helped shape many people’s experiences while at Webb. For some, entering a new environment and attending a new school can be frightening. The PAs assure that these students feel safe, comfortable, and help them have a smooth transition.
“My peer advisor helped me in many ways at Webb,” said Yvette Shu (‘23). “When I first arrived at Webb, Isa [‘21], my peer advisor, showed me not only the things I needed at Webb but also gave me important life advice on how to succeed at Webb…. She helped turn a place as intimidating as Webb into something like a second home.”
The PAs are not only responsible for hosting events such as Stress Less Week and the Zombie Apocalypse, they also guide freshmen throughout their first year to make them feel more comfortable and excited about what is to come.
To maintain their goal of being a large support system that students can rely on, the PAs are aiming to make some more changes for next year. These changes may not be finalized, but ideas are definitely out there.
“This year, we really tried to bring together the leadership groups, so instead of figuring out how we are different, I want to focus on how we are similar,” said Shelby Mokricky (‘20). “All the leadership groups are extremely hardworking and passionate. Like dorm prefects and day student prefects, we really try to care about the well-being of the student to the best of our ability.”
This year, 45 students applied to be a peer advisor. Due to the fact that there are very limited spots, many applicants and students have been wondering: what makes a good PA? To be a good PA, do not try to think you need to have a specific personality, but instead, be yourself because everyone has different strengths.
“There may be a shift in the ratio of WSC and VWS PAs, but since we’re still in the midst of the application process, we’re still not certain about that,” said Michelle Munguia (‘20). “We have also considered co-ed PA siblings groups, but that’s just an idea we have had and not a certain change we plan on making.”
So, why is there a PA program at Webb? Although the system has evolved over time, the program has been there to bolster and support freshmen.
“It started with every senior being assigned to a freshman to act as a big brother or a big sister,” said Ms. Bauman. “We found out that the experience was extremely inconsistent because not every senior wanted to be in that position…. So then we created orientation leaders as an effort to run orientation and pair people who were uniquely interested in managing and supporting the lives of freshmen. Then orientation leaders were changed into peer advisors in order to delineate the experience of orientation as just one piece of coming into the community, but being a new student expands the course of a year. That then led to peer advisors being added into the classroom so that they can be models for student health, voice, and experience.”
The peer advisors will continue to uplift the Webb community with their fun activities and the way they interact with others on campus. The changes that the program will undergo throughout this year and beyond will be to serve the freshmen population and the community as a whole.