by Myra Gerst, Engagement Coordinator
Over the last 5 months, I have had the absolute pleasure of working with 6 undergraduate students who have made up the Center for Student Wellness’s first ever engagement ambassador cohort. This group of students were recruited at the start of the fall semester and tasked with being leaders in starting conversations related to the experiences of men on campus and the struggles they face with social norms, peer pressure to consume alcohol and participate in hook-up culture, and feeling like they can’t fully express the most authentic version of themselves.
As a group, we got to dive deep into meaningful and impactful conversations about these topics and work as a team to plan events and campus-wide discussions about the intersectionality of masculinity, mental health, and violence prevention. In the past 5 months, some of the events we have hosted include:
- Men and #MeToo panel and discussion
- Never Have I Ever Discussion
- Exploring Your Relationship with Money
- Masculinities 101 Workshop
- Men’s Mental Health Panel and Discussion
- International Men’s Day @ Campus Rec
- 22 Jump Street Movie Night with Discussion
Although this year was a pilot to what this program has the potential of being, we are thrilled with the outcome and the ambassadors have shared what this program has meant to them:
“The Men’s Engagement Program has been, to me, an opportunity to honestly engage in the work of reconstructing masculinity in a space that understands the nuances of gender-based discourse as it is relevant today. This program has enabled me to work on and engage with my peers on issues of masculinity I have always been passionate in, and has empowered me to become even more learned on the topic of masculinity and male identity. Working with the team I have been with has been eye-opening, as our collective diversity brings to the table multiple views that contribute to an ever-shifting view on what “authentic masculinity” means to each of us.”
“This program is honestly life changing. I have been allowed the chance to understand masculinity, through hearing different perspectives and stories, that without this program would have been impossible. It has given me the opportunity to have my eyes opened to a whole new world of understanding and acceptance.”
We are so excited to announce that we have changed the name of the ambassador program to THEM, which is an acronym that stands for Teaching Healthy Expressions of Masculinity. We are just getting started with making an impact on our campus and although we recognize that changing culture is a marathon, not a sprint, we know that this program is creating a ripple effect of hopeful change across campus.
If you or someone you know are interested in being part of this program, we are officially accepting application and nomination forms for the 2022-2023 THEM ambassador cohort. To learn more about the expectations and requirements of the program, please visit our website here.
To apply to be an ambassador, please use this link.
To nominate a student to apply for the program, please use this link.
If you have any questions relating to the work of THEM ambassadors or would like to learn more about the application process, please contact Myra at email@example.com.