Public Health Ambassadors continue to guide healthy COVID-19 behaviors

September 17, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The Public Health Ambassador Program, a newly created peer health initiative, continues to provide students at Penn State's University Park campus with guidance on healthy behaviors and social norms related to COVID-19.

Linda LaSalle, director of Health Promotion and Wellness and one of the lead staff members for the Public Health Ambassador Program, said the program’s efforts across campus have allowed for many positive exchanges with students, employees and community members. 

“The ambassadors are recognized on campus, and individuals tend to comply with the requirements as soon as they see an ambassador,” LaSalle said.

The program, which is administered by Health Promotion and Wellness, in collaboration with a number of additional Student Affairs units, trains students to safely and strategically engage in dialogue with their peers about the importance of mask-wearing, physical distancing, and proper cough/hand hygiene, and to address questions and expectations surrounding health and safety guidelines at the University. 

The ambassadors serve as a resource for students and upon request can distribute COVID-19 packets to students that include masks, hand sanitizers and gloves. They can be located at popular campus locations such as the HUB-Robeson Center, Allen Street Gates, outside of the Forum Building, and in front of Thomas Building. Students can expect ambassadors to be at those locations from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

According to one of the ambassadors, this role is more than just supporting Penn State’s Back to State plan and encouraging healthy behaviors to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Morgan Bosch, a sophomore biology major, said this role has helped enhance her leadership and communication skills.

Bosch applied to be an ambassador to help protect the University Park and State College communities amid the pandemic. She said she's always been interested in science and public health, so she was excited to find an opportunity to do her part and to gain experience working in the field.

As a team leader, Bosch particularly enjoys getting to meet new people and working with other ambassadors for the greater good.

“It's been an awesome way to get involved on campus, despite the challenges of having a hybrid semester,” said Bosch. “It can be hard to approach a stranger, especially when they are unreceptive to wearing masks, but it allows us to practice communicating in tough situations.”

Although the ambassadors encourage healthy behaviors, it is every Penn Stater's responsibility to uphold the University’s requirements and expectations, and to report concerns. Student concerns should be reported to the Office of Student Conduct or through the incident reporting form. Staff concerns should be reported to their supervisor or to Human Resources, while faculty concerns should be reported to the academic unit head or Human Resources.

Last Updated September 22, 2020