features

RPEs Providing a Sense of Community in the Midst of the Pandemic

Caroline Wallace ’23

Staff Writer

Whether you have seen the RPEs at a table in Hogan or have read the Stall Street Journals posted in bathrooms around campus, the Relationship Peer Educators (RPEs) have a prominent presence on campus. Despite most students not physically being on campus, the dedicated members of this group have not stopped their mission to educate their peers and provide assistance to students. I had the opportunity to speak with sophomore RPE Jane Chavez about how RPEs are still helping Crusaders from home. 

Jane described that her role as an RPE is not only “to provide assistance to victims of sexual assault, harassment, and relationship violence,” but also to “educate students in bystander intervention.’’ Chavez described bystander intervention training as an opportunity for students to “learn how to appropriately respond to sexual harassment they may witness.” RPE is also unique in the fact that they are non-mandated reporters. This fact brings comfort to many students who make use of the services that RPE provides.

Graphic by Hui Li ’21. Photo Courtesy of Grace Chavez ’23.

I asked Chavez how her experience as an RPE has changed since being home. Chavez described that RPE has adjusted to the current remote circumstances by making use of their social media as a platform to educate their peers. She included their commitment to “still educate the student body.” RPE has begun a series on their Instagram page (@hcrpe) called “RelationTips.” Chavez described that in this new series “a new topic is discussed each week by one of the RPE members.” This allows Crusaders to still feel the presence of RPE, even from home.

Chavez added how COVID-19 has allowed the RPEs to explore new elements of healthy relationships. Because of being remote, RPE has begun to address new topics such as “long-distance relationships, healthy texting habits and partner communication.” RPE has not only made the most of the current circumstances, but they have also found opportunity in such an uncertain time. Adjusting their content in accordance with students staying home is just one way that RPE exhibits their commitment to healthy relationships for Holy Cross students.  Chavez also included the fact that RPE is still providing services to students living off-campus who would like to “seek help without repercussions even if they may have violated Holy Cross’s COVID-19 guidelines.” 

RPE is one of the many wonderful organizations that Holy Cross students have at their disposal. Despite the fact that Holy Cross students have not been able to return back to campus, RPE is still providing a sense of community to students through their use of social media. They have not stopped their services for students, and they have even enhanced the program’s educational material as a result of the ongoing pandemic so that students will still be able to relate to what the RPEs teach. RPE has done an exceptional job at providing a sense of comfort and community in such an isolating and uncertain time. Remember to follow their Instagram (@hcrpe) to stay up to date with their RealtionTips! 
A person standing in front of a building

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RPE Jane Chavez on Denim Day.

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