WellCat Ambassadors, a student organization under the leadership of Lafene Health Center, provides a wide range of services and presentations to promote the health and well-being of Kansas State students through educational and interactive outreach activities.
Victoria Bedros, WellCat Ambassador and junior in biology, said the WellCat Ambassadors go through extensive training, including taking a course called EDCEP 360: Peer Health Education and Leadership.
“We get certified as peer educators, which is a national certification,” Bedros said. “We learn how to approach different situations with our peers. From there, we review presentations that the WellCat ambassadors give and have an overview of the ambassador program in general.”
WellCat Ambassadors present on a wide variety of topics, such as drugs and alcohol, loving your body, healthy dating, stress and more. Detailed presentation descriptions can be found on their presentations flyer online.
When someone is deciding on which presentation from WellCat Ambassadors would be most beneficial for a group to hear, they should think about the members of the group and what would benefit them most, Megan Katt, WellCat Ambassadors advisor and health educator at Lafene, said.
“If it is a group of pre-med students, we know that those students have tough classes. They probably have a lot on their mind thinking about MCATs and deadlines looming,” Katt said. “The De-Stress for Success presentation may help give them tools to be able to cope with that stress.”
Bedros agreed with Katt and said the De-Stress for Success presentation helps students with heavy workloads.
“It is important to know that my stress level [in pre-med] is not normal, but there are so many people in college facing the same amount of stress,” Bedros said. “I feel like there is more we can do to bring attention to it and not normalize it because everyone is feeling the same way.”
WellCat Ambassadors offer other programs as well, such as WellCat Coach, to help students on campus.
“The WellCat Coach is not supposed to take the place of a licensed professional,” Katt said. “It is not supposed to take the place of therapy. It is an opportunity for students to meet with another student. What we know from research about peer-to-peer education is that it is a lot less intimidating, it is easier to be honest and students feel more comfortable because they feel like the peer can relate to what they are going through in life.”
Natalie Mullin, a WellCat Coach and a senior in biology, said it is simple to create an appointment with a WellCat Ambassador.
“Students can make their appointments on their MyLafene portal. They can also be referred by a physician or a professor to the program,” Mullin said. “They just come to meet with us for 30 minutes or an hour or whatever they want, and we talk about whatever subject they select.”
Students can discuss a wide variety of topics such as stress, alcohol, nutrition, relationships and more, according to the WellCat Coach website.
“Say they [a student] select alcohol and drug use,” Mullin said. “Maybe they want help managing it because they feel like they are drinking too much or relying on alcohol as a coping mechanism. We talk to them about making healthier habits and educate them about health and wellbeing. We help them make an action plan and use the SMART goals to help them change their lifestyle to make them as happy emotionally, physically and mentally as possible.”
Mullin and Kat encouraged all interested students to utilize WellCat Ambassadors’ services.
“My biggest reason that you should utilize WellCat Ambassadors is that there is no charge for our services. You can ask us for a presentation, you can meet with a one-on-one coach, and there is no charge for any of that,” said Katt. “The other reason I think meeting with a WellCat Ambassador or WellCat Coach would be beneficial for students is that these ambassadors are trained, and they know what they are doing.”
Katt also said that students who care about health and wellbeing should consider applying to be WellCat Ambassadors.
“If you are interested in getting involved [on campus], then maybe WellCat Ambassadors is for you,” Katt said. “You do not have to be any certain major; we take anybody and everybody. If you have a passion for health and wellbeing, then you would be a good fit for the ambassador group, and we would love to have you.”