Peer Support reaches new sign-up record


Will Sherwood/Chronicle

Peer Support Coordinators gather members in order to disperse them into groups. Prior to receiving their group assignments, students enjoyed food and drinks in the Student Lounge.

Claire Conner

After receiving a record number of sign-ups, Peer Support gathered for its first meeting of the school year Oct. 4. Peer Support meets once weekly to share social and academic issues and bond with group members.

According to Peer Support Coordinator Milo Kiddugavu ’22, nearly 650 students signed up, contrasting the program’s typical participation rate of 300 to 500 members per year. Kiddugavu said he attributes this increase in engagement to students’ excitement for the full return to in-person school.

“I think many students wanted to experience the full length of what Peer Support offers, whether that is because they have only done it online or they just have never participated in the club before,” Kiddugavu said. “I believe that Peer Support is especially important after a year in quarantine. On top of the support and inclusion that Peer Support represents, the social aspect will prove very helpful in building community between grades and create new, lasting relationships.”

I believe that Peer Support is especially important after a year in quarantine.

— Milo Kiddugavu

Peer Support Program Head Tina McGraw ’01 said group meetings provide students with friendships that will help ease their transition back to school. “Everyone is very excited to have Peer Support resume in person on campus, and I think we can all agree that we are starved for human interaction and connection after a year and a half apart,” McGraw said. “It has also been a time when more students than ever have needed extra social support as an antidote to the distress they have felt over the long course of this pandemic.”

After participating in the organization’s virtual meetings as a sophomore, Junior Prefect Yoshimi Kimura ’23 said she looks forward to another year of bonding with her peers and socializing in person.

“I really loved the community atmosphere of Peer Support and how flexible it was,” Kimura said. “It was like a structured break in our daily lives where we could just be teenagers for the sake of being teenagers. I think that is why I signed up again this year. Even though I could be spending those hours doing homework, studying or practicing, having that moment to take a step back and just have fun makes the rest of my week so much better.”