Many of you may be finding settling into University even more daunting in the current climate. Knowing where you can meet new people, how you can get advice from returning students who've done it all before and how you are able to interact has become more challenging as we keep our distance to protect each other and our community. But the most important thing to remember is that you are not alone.
If you’re looking for someone to meet for a coffee, to try a new sporting or cultural activity with or just to have a chat with (in person or virtually), then sign up as a participant in the UPSU Buddy Scheme.
The Buddy Scheme is designed to be very informal – it’s just a chance to meet someone new, boost your wellbeing and combat loneliness through the support offered by a student just like you.
Please note, the UPSU Buddy Scheme does not replace existing UPSU or University services. If you need support that cannot be offered by your Buddy they will signpost you to other appropriate services, such as the SU Advice Centre, or the University of Plymouth Student Hub.
Who can sign up for the buddy scheme?
The buddy scheme is open to all current University of Plymouth students.
If you’re a first-year student or you’ve recently transitioned to study at the University of Plymouth we’d recommend that you sign up to become a participant so that we can match you up with a Buddy.
If you’re a returning student and think that you can provide peer to peer support to other students and help to combat loneliness then we’d love you to join us as a Volunteer Buddy.
Read the full role description here
How do I sign up?
Get a Buddy
To sign up as a participant for the Buddy Scheme all you need to do is fill out a form.
This form will be sent to the Volunteering Department who will read through and pair you up with a Buddy.
Become a Buddy
To sign up as a buddy for the Buddy Scheme, please click on the 'Register your interest' button on the volunteering info page if this sounds like the right opportunity for you and the Volunteering team will get in touch with you and pair you up with a participant.
(If you can't see the 'Register your interest button' please ensure you are logged in and registered as a volunteer. You can check by navigating to your volunteer profile via the person icon in the top right-hand corner. If you are not registered it will take you through the short process after which you should be able to see the button.)
What does being a Volunteer Buddy involve?
The volunteer buddy role is very informal and will to a great extent depend on the student/s you are buddied with.
The time commitment each week would be variable and would depend on the number of buddies you take on and the support they need.
It could involve simply meeting for coffee, taking part together in a sporting or cultural activity or virtual meet-ups via Zoom or Teams.
The role does not replace existing UPSU or University services, as a Buddy you will be equipped to signpost your buddy to appropriate on-campus services. If you have any concerns, please talk to a member of the UPSU Volunteer Team.
What training does a volunteer buddy receive?
Before being paired all Volunteer Buddies will be trained in the following areas.
- Data Protection
- Communicating and connecting with your buddy
- Signposting – overview of UPSU and University Services
- Personal safety
Why do I need to answer these questions?
Based on your answers in this form we will assign you a Volunteer Buddy, trying to take into account as much of the information given as possible.
We will let you know who they are before they make contact with you, to arrange your first meeting either virtually or in-person at a venue on campus.
Please note all data collected within this form will be securely stored in line with the policies of UPSU. The data will be kept in a secure area with access limited to relevant members of staff. Your contact details will be shared with your Volunteer Buddy, so they can contact you.