BTW: Bridge to Wellness Peer Educators

BTW Peer Educators in a Zoom meeting
BTW peer educators in a Zoom meeting making funny faces

Creating a campus culture that prioritizes individual well-being and community health

BTW peer leaders educate and empower students to prioritize well-being and practice healthy decision making around substance abuse, stress management, nutrition, fitness and mental health. BTW works to increase access and strengthen connections between students and campus resources. Through workshops, training and communications, BTW strives to enhance the student experience at Brandeis for all.

Applying to become a BTW Peer Educator

Applications for the 2020-2021 academic year are now closed.

Job information

BTW is a paid student leadership position supervised by the Office of Health and Wellness Promotion (HAWP).

BTW peer educators complete approximately 40 hours of training each fall. During the academic year, they work 4-6 hours per week.  Please email or talk to a BTW peer educator for more information about the position.

BTW Peer Educators

Photo of Denezia Fahie standing against a brick wall
Denezia Fahie ’22
Major: Education Studies

As someone who has been involved in peer education for several years, I have never found a program quite like BTW: Bridge To Wellness. I am thrilled to be a coordinator in a space that is intentional and excited about connecting students to our University's resources and filling the gaps we find along the way! Outside of my BTW position, I am a second-year TYP-Scholar from Central MA majoring in Education Studies! In my leisure time, I like to listen to music, write poetry, and go shopping.

Ysabel Munoz
Ysabel Munoz ’21
Major: Health, Science, Society & Policy, Minor: Environmental Studies

Working with BTW has been one of the most rewarding experiences. Whether on campus or virtually, I focus on helping the community make wellness a part of their everyday lives through creative social media campaigns and by introducing the vast network of resources Brandeis offers. Aside from being a BTW Peer Education Coordinator, I am the President of the Brandeis Mountain Club and spend my weekends in the mountains, skiing, climbing, hiking, camping, and more. I am from Danville, California and spend my summers in Yosemite National Park working as a Wilderness First Responder. This past Spring I studied tropical island biodiversity studies on a small island off the coast of Panama. I love coral!! I am very excited to be working with BTW again this year and look forward to developing alternative ways to connect with the Brandeis community.

Catherine Romero
Catherine Romero '22
Major: Sociology and African and African American Studies, Minor: Politics

I am thrilled to be a part of a group that brings passion from multiple areas in order to bring health and wellness on campus. To me, promoting all these layers of wellness are extremely important to acknowledging, valuing, and ensuring space for all identities. Aside from being a part of this lovely community, I am a third year TYP scholar tutoring for a TYP writing course this year. On campus you will most likely find me either on shift or hangout out at the Intercultural Center.

Viv Santana Perez
Viv Santana-Perez '22
Majors: Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Sociology

Viv Santana-Perez is a Posse Scholar from Atlanta, Georgia. She is pursuing a double major in Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Sociology. Viv is passionate about art, activism, and education. Recognizing the importance of being healthy and learning ways to achieve that goal is the reason why Viv is very excited to work with BTW as a peer educator. Her goal is to help others grow and feel empowered to prioritize themselves. Aside from being a part of the BTW team, Viv is currently serving as the Co-President of the Brandeis LatinX Student Organization.

Nathalie Vieux-Gresham
Nathalie Vieux-Gresham '23
Major: Neuroscience, Minors: Computer Science and Psychology

Hey! I’m Nathalie “Nat” Vieux-Gresham and I am a sophomore STEM Posse scholar majoring in neuroscience and minoring in computer science and psychology. I am excited to be a part of the BTW team because I can impact the community in a way that can affect their day to day life. While we educate our communities on health and wellness, I look forward to how my experience with BTW can help me explore the different ways I can improve upon my own health and wellness. Outside of BTW, I am a campus ambassador for Brandeis’s The Women’s Network (TWN) Chapter.

Danielle Wright
Danielle Wright ’21
Majors: International and Global Studies, and Health: Science, Society, and Policy, Minor: Anthropology

When I heard about Bridge to Wellness, I believed it would be an integral part of health and wellness in the Brandeis community. I strongly believe in integrative methods to tackle all types of health issues as expressed in BTW’s philosophy, and I knew I had to be a part of it! I am so excited to take on my role as a coordinator this year and hope I can help Brandeis make the most out of an unconventional year. Outside of BTW, I am a captain on the Brandeis Women’s Soccer team, and, if I have free time, I enjoy Mountain Club activities, hammocking, and line dancing.

Flora Zhang
Flora Zhang '23
Majors: Applied Math and Economics

It is the most pleasant thing to join BTW and become one of the peer educators. Health and wellness has drawn more and more attention to Brandeis and beyond, and this is also why I would love to be a listener to the community and offer as much help as I can. While challenging oneself to be tougher in face of difficulties, one shall always listen to the sound from deep down one’s heart. I hope we share the goal of longing for a happy and fulfilling experience not only on campus, but also in life.

BTW Projects

Graphic of a compass with the text: Bridge to Wellness Navigating Nutrition Bringing you dining hall tips every week for the month of October on the BTW instagram and facebook pages Instagram icon, @brandeisBTW Facebook icon, @brandeisBTW
Graphic of a sleeping owl with a nightcap and clouds in the back with the text, “Sleep Week, November 4 to 8, 2019, Brandeis University”
A collection of 5 photos of 5 students holding a white board that has a BTW bridge to wellness sticker on it with the heading hashtag I pledge to. Student in the top left corner holding a whiteboard that says “I pledge to drink more water”. Student in the middle of the top row holding a whiteboard that says “I pledge to drink enough water this week”. Student in the top right corner holding a whiteboard that says “I pledge to drink more water”. Student in the bottom left corner holding a whiteboard that says “I pledge to drink more water”. Student in the bottom right corner holding a whiteboard that says “I pledge to drink more water”.
BTW Bridge to Wellness, Brandeis University. Sleep Tracker. Ideal sleeping habits, followed by a blank line. Number of hours, followed by a blank line. Ideal bed time, followed by a blank line. A moon icon labelled night followed by 7 graphics of pillows under the column headers for each day of the week, Mon, Tues, Wed, Today, Fri, Sat, Sun. A sun icon labelled morning followed by 7 graphics of alarm clocks under the column headers for each day of the week, Mon, Tues, Wed, Today, Fri, Sat, Sun.
Remember social distancing doesn’t mean social isolation. A graphic in the middle third of two people hugging a heart-shaped globe of the Earth with the text “Who are you checking in on today, Just checking in, Brandeis University”
Sunscreen Tips -SPF of at least 30. -protects against both UVA and UVB light. -Apply 15-30 min before sun exposure. -Reapply every 2 to 3 hours. -80% of UV rays pass through clouds. -Cover up with protective clothing. BTW Bridge to Wellness, Brandeis University. With doodle of the sun, sunscreen on hands, and people playing with a beach ball against a sunset background.
Alt text:  Alcohol and Athletic Performance PERFORMANCE IMPACT  Decreases aerobic performance  Alcohol is a diuretic that can lead to dehydration. It also impairs temperature regulation and accelerates fatigue.  Impairs motor skills, strength, power,  and speed. Alcohol slows reaction time and impairs precision, equilibrium, hand-eye coordination, accuracy, balance, judgment, information processing, focus, stamina, strength, power, and speed for up to 72 hours. If you exert yourself during that time, you may extend your recovery time further.  Slows recovery. Alcohol interferes with recovery by delaying muscle repair.  Negatively affects body composition. Drinking can lead to increased body fat accumulation due to ethanol storage as fat. Alcohol's stimulant effect can also result in increased caloric intake and overall weight gain.  Increases risk of nutrient deficiencies. Not only does alcohol decrease vitamin and mineral absorption, but certain nutrients are used to clear alcohol from your system, leaving less of those nutrients for normal function.  Increases risk of illness and injury. Regular alcohol consumption depresses your immune system and delays healing.  Disrupts sleep . Alcohol interferes with sleep cycles, REM sleep, and the release of Human Growth Hormone. (See details on reverse.)  Source: Alcohol and Athletic Performance Fact Sheet, NCAA.  What happens after a night of heavy drinking? This college athlete partied hard on Friday night after a win. They went to bed drunk with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .18. Here's what their week looks like:  2:00 AM Saturday .18 BAC: In bed, dizzy & disoriented. Vomiting is likely. REM sleep cycles are disturbed and muscle recovery is impeded.  8:00 AM Saturday Hungover. The day is a wash, most of it spent sleeping. Dehydration and a second night of impaired sleep continues to delay muscle recovery.  5:00 PM Sunday At practice feeling slow & tired. Push through practice hoping no one notices. Physical exertion in this state delays recovery further.  6:00 PM Monday Still recovering. Performance at practice or during a game is not yet 100%  5:00 PM Tuesday Finally feeling 100%. Get in a good practice.  6:00 PM Wednesday Game night. Wish they had made more progress this week.  11:00 PM Friday Do it all again?  Alcohol, Cannabis, and Athletic Performance HAWP, Brandeis University Health and Wellness Promotion 781-736-3678 Play Smart
 ALCOHOL & SLEEP Why does it matter for athletes?  MEMORY AND LEARNING. Falling asleep while intoxicated causes REM deprivation in the first half of your sleep cycle, and REM rebound during the second half. REM sleep is where you solidify your memories, including muscle memory and play memories. REM rebound often causes a groggy, disconnected feeling upon waking, lack of alertness, and occasionally morning headaches. Heavy drinking can cause REM rebound to occur for two nights in a row, causing the negative effects to last for two days after drinking.  MUSCLE DEVELOPMENT  During sleep, human growth hormone (HGH) is released. HGH is the hormone that stimulates muscle growth and repair. In a good night of sleep (7-8 hours), your body naturally produces HGH at amounts equivalent to people taking supplements. Going to sleep intoxicated can reduce natural HGH production by 70%!  18% of Brandeis athletes did something they later regretted when drinking in the past year.   8% of Brandeis athletes injured themselves when drinking in the past year. Source: National College Health Assessment Fall 2018 15% of Brandeis athletes consumed 5 or more drinks in a sitting in the last 2 weeks.  WHAT ABOUT CANNABIS? Cannabis is known to increase heart rate while decreasing cardiac stroke volume, resulting in diminished peak performance. Cannabis use can result in reduced sport performance through slowed reaction time, problems with motor coordination, hand-eye coordination, and perceptual accuracy. These effects can last for 24-36 hours after smoking. Cannabis reduces maximal exercise capacity resulting in increased fatigue. Cannabis use can inhibit sweating and the body's ability to regulate its temperature.  Alcohol, Cannabis, and Athletic Performance HAWP, Brandeis University Health and Wellness Promotion 781-736-3678 Play Smart