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Peer Assistance for Learning

The Peer Assistance for Learning program (PAL) is a volunteer opportunity for Virginia Tech students. In this role, PALs provide programmatic support for the counseling center by making and giving outreach presentations on various topics. They help spread information about mental health awareness and study skills.

The Cook Counseling Center’s PALs also provide educational programs designed to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness, as well as helping students better understand when to seek treatment. They present programs in the classrooms, residence halls, or other requested venues. The Peer Assistance for Learning programs include:

  • Orientation to the resources and services of Cook Counseling Center
  • Adjusting to College
  • Stress Management
  • Sleep Hygiene
  • How to Refer a Friend to the Counseling Center
  • Recognizing the warning signs of: Anxiety, Depression, and Eating Disorders

PALs learn invaluable leadership skills while getting the chance to gain public speaking experience and learning about academic success strategies. The PAL program allows students to make like-minded friends while educating their peers on more productive ways to study. Training is provided by Cook Counseling Center. For additional information you may download our PALS brochure.

If you have any questions about the program, call Cook Counseling Center at 540-231-6557.

PAL Program Outreach Request Form
If you would like to request a presentation by the Virginia Tech PALs, please fill out a request form.

*Please note that these request forms are not a method of contact for counseling or help in an emergency. If you do need counseling, you must call the center at 540-231-6557 during the day and after-hours to reach the on-call counselor. If you do not feel like you can keep yourself safe, call 911 to receive immediate help.

2020 - 2021 PALs

Alise - Richmond, VA

I became a PAL to spread awareness of and reduce the stigma around mental health struggles of college students. Understanding your mental health is the key to succeeding and being happy, yet is seen as a sensitive thing to talk about. Breaking down the barriers around conversation about mental health and fostering an accepting, open, and caring environment on Virginia Tech’s campus and everywhere else is so important. By becoming a PAL, I hope to do just that by sharing all of the resources Cook Counseling has to offer!

Akansha - Downington, PA

I joined PALS to get involved in spreading awareness for mental health issues faced across Virginia Tech campus. I wanted to help bring light to situations that may be scary or hard to deal with on your own. Together, I hope we can reduce the stigma behind mental health and create a more positive and happier environment to reside in.

Hannah, Secretary - Ashburn, VA

Mental health has always been a topic of importance to me. Joining the PALs program has allowed me to share my interest in the topic and help other students on campus learn about the amazing resources available to them. Trying to reduce the stigma around mental health little by little can hopefully benefit students and this campus as a whole.

Hannah - Williamsburg, VA

I became a PAL to encourage other students to seek the numerous resources our campus offers. I wanted to help bring awareness of the importance of mental health. The PAL program has given me the opportunity to work with like-minded people to help other students learn about the resources available to them.

Julia, Mental Health Coalition Rep. – Fairfax Station, VA

Joining PALs was the perfect opportunity to spread my passion and love for mental health, while at the same tie, learning new ways of how to alleviate the stigmas associated with it. My goal as a PAL is to inform all Hokies that they are not alone in their mental health concerns and we are here to help guide them to those resource they may be seeking out.

Madison - Locust Grove,VA

Mental health has always been a very important topic for me and something a lot of people struggle with silently. I became a PAL to spread more awareness regarding mental health and provide people with the information and support they need to seek help. I hope that by providing outreach and information, that all students will feel safe and comfortable and always remain open to the idea of coming into the counseling center if they feel they are struggling and need help!

Mason - Richmond, VA

I became a PAL because I wanted to have a positive impact on the Virginia Tech community by spreading awareness of mental health and working to reduce the stigma which surrounds mental health. I want everyone to feel at home at Virginia Tech, and want to share all the amazing resources that the Cook Counseling Center has to offer.

Meghan, Outreach Chair– Danville, VA

I first learned who the PALs were when a few of them presented at a meeting for a club I am in, and was immediately interested in the work they do! I have always been passionate about mental health and cannot stress enough the importance of educating people on how to live healthier, happier lives.

Michelle - Woodbridge, VA

Being a PAL is all about promoting honest conversations around mental health, which has always been one of my deepest passions. As someone profoundly affected by mental illness and personal struggle, I know firsthand how important it is to shed light on subjects that may be uncomfortable or culturally stigmatized. Everyone struggles, but no one should ever have to struggle alone. Virginia Tech is full of incredible students who all deserve to feel worthy, heard, and understood. As PALS, it is our goal to lead others there.

Naima - Newport News, VA

In the short, but important time we are in college, I often see that mental health becomes a very important factor in our happiness and success, but most time is overlooked. I became a PAL to spread the necessity of thinking about mental health and creating a campus culture in which students feel comfortable reach out and using their resources at the Cook Counseling Center and beyond.

Olivia - Charlotte, NC

I joined PALs because I wanted to help increase mental health awareness at Virginia Tech. College students are subjected to so much stress and I think giving students the tools to cope with these stressors is vitally important. I’m thankful for the information that PALs has given me to do just that!

Rachel - Richmond, VA

I joined PALs so I could help spread awareness and resources for mental health that Virginia Tech offers. Being able to help eliminate the stigma around mental health is a huge passion of mine, being a part of PALs allows me to do just this. No one should feel ashamed if they are dealing with something. I want to help people who feel this way.

Rancho - Palos Verdes, CA

The reason why I want to become a PAL is to have a platform to help out others in need and to let people know that they are not alone. I myself suffered from depression freshman year, I know how hard it can be to feel like it’s you verse the whole world, and I don’t want anyone to feel like that. With PALs I have a better opportunity to spread awareness of mental illness and to walk alongside students who are currently suffering from it.

Rea, Membership Chair - Ashburn VA

I joined PALs because of my passion and interest in spreading mental health awareness around campus. I think offering resources like PALs and the counseling center is very important in letting hokies know that there is always an opportunity to reach our for help if they need to. I am happy to be a part of it.

Rebecca - Xenia, OH

I became a PAL to help guide people to resources for a healthy mind and a fulfilling life. I’m passionate about mental health and well-being, and I want to become a psychiatrist. The human brain is fascinatingly complex and sometimes it doesn’t work exactly how it should- and that’s okay! Everybody deserves access to the help they need to be healthier and happier.

Riddhi - Manassas, VA

I became a PAL to spread awareness of mental health, reduce the stigma surrounding it, and be an effective resource here on campus. Everyone deserves to feel happy and safe in the environment they live in!

Sade - Springfield, VA

I became a PAL because I want to help reduce the mental health stigma on campus and inform my peers about the numerous programs available to them through Cook Counseling. I hope that raising awareness about mental health helps students to better enjoy their time here at Virginia Tech.

Sydney, Outreach Chair– Danville, VA

I became a PAL to spread awareness about the resources available to people that need them. I also feel as though there is a tremendous amount of stigma around mental health/getting help and this program is a very good way for students to see other students like them promoting counseling and self-care.