New Peer Drop-In Center launches at Shawnee State University


Staff report



Kaitlyn Cooper (left) and Taylor Mershon (right) help coordinate the activities in the Peer Drop-In Center at Shawnee State University.

Kaitlyn Cooper (left) and Taylor Mershon (right) help coordinate the activities in the Peer Drop-In Center at Shawnee State University.


PORTSMOUTH — Located in the campus’ Administration Annex, Shawnee State University has introduced a Peer Drop-In Center (PDIC) designed to help meet student needs while helping guide them through their educational pathway to success.

PDIC provides a variety of resources including time and stress management strategies, academic help, navigation of campus resources, sexual health awareness and resources, personal skill building, peer-to-peer support, and more. It serves as a one-stop gateway to gaining access to the specific resources or connections students might need.

“We do a little bit of everything,” said Program Coordinator Kaitlyn Cooper. “Even though we’re not actual counselors, if you need someone to talk to on a peer-to-peer level that’s what we are here and are trained for. We practice the same confidentiality that the counseling department does in those scenarios. We are also a resource that can help connect you with offices on campus, provide a safe space to study and eat snacks, and enjoy some of our own upcoming events.”

The PDIC is currently operated by program coordinators Cooper and Taylor Mershon, Counseling, Health, & Accessibility Services Director Linda Koenig, and Administrative Assistant Kim Weddington. Cooper is a sophomore at SSU, while Mershon is a university alumna currently pursuing her master’s in social work at another university.

“What sets our service apart is that it is ran by students,” Cooper said. “We can relate to the students on a peer-to-peer level. The students that work in here are also all at different points in their educational career. Right now, the other offices on campus are really busy, and we can provide students with a quick option for getting help or figuring something out.”

The PDIC is currently open Monday through Friday each week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and plans to host a number of interactive events throughout the academic year for students.

“Our next event is Naps & Snacks,” said Cooper. “We’re having this event during midterms and finals and the plan is to focus heavily on relaxing. We’ll have a movie, snacks, board games, and more. It will be a recovery for after midterms and a calming event before for finals. Our other big event is Fall Treats. We will be showing a Halloween movie, offering fall snacks like buffalo chicken dip, apple cobbler and chili, and raffling off Crock Pots.”

In November, Cooper and Mershon will be teaching a class for Certified Peer Education (CPE) Certification. Getting this certification would make students eligible to work in the PDIC.

“It is super easy, and it is a good way to get involved on campus,” said Cooper. “This job is good for people in humanities and social majors, but we love having diversity in the office. One of our employees is in IT, others are in education, social work, the medical field, and in communications.”

To learn more about the Peer Drop-In Center at Shawnee State University, call 740-351-3062 or stop by the Administration Annex located on campus.

Kaitlyn Cooper (left) and Taylor Mershon (right) help coordinate the activities in the Peer Drop-In Center at Shawnee State University.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2021/10/web1_PeerDropInCenter.jpgKaitlyn Cooper (left) and Taylor Mershon (right) help coordinate the activities in the Peer Drop-In Center at Shawnee State University.

Staff report