Mallory Bejster, college health nurse and advisor of the Peer Health Educators at Illinois College, was chosen for the Outstanding Advisor Award at the BACCHUS National Assembly last month.
Bejster was nominated by the Peer Health Educators and was one of five advisors chosen from the 12 areas of the BACCHUS Network throughout the United States.
“Receiving this award was very meaningful because the students within the Peer Health Education group nominated me,” Bejster said. “I truly enjoy working with the Peer Health Educators and seeing their creativity flourish in the different projects they create. So many of the students have gained valuable leadership skills and experiences, and I have been privileged to have the opportunity to work with them.”
In the past three years since Bejster became advisor of the Peer Health Educators at Illinois College, membership increased from just a handful of students to nearly 30 today.
“Mallory is always supportive and encouraging to each member. Without Mallory, the Peer Health Educators would not be the group it is today,” David Johnson, senior at Illinois College, said.
The BACCHUS annual assembly is one of the premier student leadership health conferences in the nation, and it gives college student leaders from the network a chance to gather and celebrate their accomplishments.
“The energy the students bring to the conference is phenomenal. They are talking with their peers from other campuses and sharing ideas and strategies for increasing the health behaviors of their peers back on their own campus,” Ann Quinn-Zobeck, director of education and training for the BACCHUS Network, said.
Also at the conference, junior Alexis Palumbo, president of the Peer Health Educators at IC, was elected to represent Area 4 on the Student Advisory Committee in the BACCHUS network. Only one student is chosen per area. Area 4 is comprised of Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota and South Dakota.
“It is an honor to be chosen by your peers to be one of 12 students in the nation serving in this position,” Bejster said. “These students have the opportunity to make a large impact not only on their own campus, but also within the BACCHUS Network at a national level. It is a wonderful leadership experience, and I know Alexis will represent our group and Illinois College well as she carries out her related duties in the coming year.”
As an Area 4 representative, Palumbo will have the chance to make connections with national organizations.
“This opportunity is one that no other Illinois College Peer Health Educator has had,” Palumbo said. “I have been so honored to represent IC at the BACCHUS General Assembly for the past two years and am so thrilled to represent PHEs and our school at a national level. I cannot wait to see what this year has to bring.”
Over 120 campuses were represented at the annual BACCHUS conference and awards banquet. Students traveled from across the nation to attend breakout sessions and educational speakers on health topics such as alcohol abuse, marijuana, tobacco control, fitness and nutrition, and mental health, as well as keynotes on leadership and advocacy for creating a healthier generation.
At the conclusion of the conference, the attendees recognized outstanding prevention programs, student peer educators, advisors, alumni and affiliate groups from across the nation.