Peer Ministers serve as mentors, a caring presence, and role models to students, being available to peers, fostering relationships, creating program and spiritual growth opportunities, and connecting students in need of spiritual care with the pastoral staff of the Chapel of the Resurrection. The majority of the Peer Ministers live in the residence halls and are an integral part of both the Residence Life team and the Chapel ministry.
What is a Peer Minister?
Peer Ministers serve students by offering welcome, guidance, compassion support, and accompaniment through intentional relationships. Peer Ministers provide a safe place for all students to question, ponder, explore, grow and develop an understanding of self amid the spiritual journey. Peer Ministers are an extension of, and provide a connection to, the pastoral ministry of the Chapel of the Resurrection.
As integral members of both the Residential Life and Campus Ministry staffs, Peer Ministers attend regular hall staff meetings, actively participate in regular team meetings, and work closely with the Resident Assistants to facilitate spiritual programming within the residence halls.
Valparaiso University’s Peer Ministers undergo a week of training at the beginning of each school year. This week’s goals are to build a team of mutually supportive ministers and equip them with the soft skills needed for peer ministry.
At the heart of this are care and comfort training. Through a curriculum developed by “Inspiring Comfort” which believes that giving comfort when people are hurting is a teachable skill, the Peer Ministers deepen their understanding of the need to initiate contact when they come across someone who is in distress, identify their own inhibitions against doing so and develop a practical plan for doing so that is true to their personality and place on campus. Through this training, along with an annual campus-wide workshop that introduces all new students to the need to provide care for one another, the Peer Ministers are an integral part of a plan to enhance the culture of care and compassion hallmark of campus life at Valpo.
In addition to care and comfort training, the Peer Ministers review the Chapel’s services and activities, are oriented to the breadth of support services available on campus, and learn how their role complements that of the Residential Life staff.
Once the school year begins, the Peer Ministers meet every other week under the direction of either the University Pastors or the Peer Ministry Leads (two veteran Peer Ministers who serve as student managers of the team) to check in with each other, talk out campus care issues as they arise and continue to develop their ministry skills.
Peer Minister Co-Leaders:
- Graham Butler
- Genevieve Brown (through Fall ’22)
- Jillian Seeger (beginning Spring ’23)
- Forrest Eriksson
- Kayla Sleeper
- Naja Steele
- Steven Engel
- Christian Koppang
- Dahliah Wilkes
- Sarah Roeglin
- Hilsy Argueta Merlo
- Fox Wilmot
- Jillian Seeger
- Frank Maldonado Colon