Peer Support Centre still rockin’ after all these years

The Peer Support Centre is a place where students can go to relax, make new friends, and enjoy the safe place SAITSA provides.

The centre was opened by Amanda Hanna and Teagan Cochrane of the SAITSA executive, in November of 2013.

They opened the centre so they could address mental health issues on campus.

When asked what is the goal the Peer Support Centre is, Sarah Hogendorp, the co-ordinator, said, “To foster more community and combat isolation while providing tools to help students face mental health issues before they reach a crisis point.

“We have staff who enforce rules around respect and kindness who are informed about issues that affect marginalized communities such as the LGBTQ+ community, Indigenous students, immigrant students and students living with disabilities,” Hogendorp said.

Last year Hogendorp was hired to be the new co-ordinator so she could focus on students’ mental health and to watch over the Peer Support Centre.

The Peer Support Centre has different theme days so they can bring students together.

“While the majority of the programming hasn’t changed since I started,” Hogendorp said.

“Most changes are initiated by myself, my manager Natasha Lundrigan, the VP Student Life or the SAITSA President.”

The busiest day in 2014 for the centre was Jan. 28th when 39 students walked into the centre.

The busiest day this year was Jan. 17th and 111 students came to the centre.

When asked what changed since working at the Peer Support Centre, Franz Diaz, a peer support employee for three years, said the centre changed the room, management, co-workers, and events.

“Pride Night was added, yoga was removed, videogames only happen on Thursdays instead of every day, and Karaoke Friday was changed to Flashback Friday,” Diaz said.

Diaz said his favorite part of working in the Peer Support Centre was getting to meet “cool” people.

“I try my best to manage my time efficiently. I sometimes do school work and meet my teammates at the centre,” said Diaz.

“It is not very difficult as the staff work part time, and schedules are very convenient for our classes.”

“I use my planner,” Paige Krentz, a first year Peer Support Centre employee said.

Krentz said she enjoys getting to know different people and seeing their views on the world.

Health, Love, Friendship: Izunna Nwogbo poses for a picture by the Peer support Centre at SAIT on Oct. 29, 2018. Izunna enjoys what the centre has to offer. (Photo by Athena Bishop/The Press)
About Athena Bishop 1 Article
As a news reporting and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Athena Bishop is working as a writer for The Press during the 2018-19 academic year.