Members shaping the Buddy Scheme

Members shaping the Buddy Scheme

15th December 2016

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Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to complete one of our feedback forms; after reviewing all your comments and suggestions here is a summary of what you said and what we did.

Buddy Scheme Autumn Term in Numbers

333 Current Students

916 New Students

1249 Total number involved

4% of all First Generation Scholars at Sussex are on the Buddy Scheme

52% of students on the Buddy Scheme are International and EU students.

The Good Stuff

We would just like to say thank you for all your positive feedback about your experience, here is an overview of some of the general comments:

64% of respondents said they had met up with all their buddies

82% felt they had been well matched with at least one of them.

87% said that they felt supported

78% said they would recommend the Buddy Scheme to a friend.

You enjoyed our events and appreciated that they were not expensive.

You stated that being a part of the Buddy Scheme helped with homesickness.

Most of you found the process of signing up using our website really easy. You also made lots of lovely comments about it, stating that it was well designed, easy to use and contained lots of useful information.

59% felt it helped with your integration into university life.

Some of you say that you are chatting on social media which is great and we understand it’s hard to find the time to meet up and volunteers can be just as helpful at answering your questions online.

It seems that new students whose volunteer is committed, communicated well with them and been helpful had a positive experience. New students who met up with their volunteer, went to Buddy Scheme and Active US events met more people and were more likely to  integrate better into the student community.

Thank you for all your event suggestions, we have looked into all feasible options and are excited to announce our Spring Term events on… Monday 16th January 2017!

Your comments and suggestions

There was some feedback from students about not being contacted by their buddy or their buddy not replying to emails. We are really sorry to hear that this has happened to a few of you.  We have introduced online training to ensure that all Buddy Scheme Volunteers can access training and that they fully understand the commitment to their buddy and the importance of informing Buddy Scheme staff if this commitment becomes too much. We cannot stress enough to PLEASE let us know if you have any problems – this is why we are here! We cannot rectify things if we do not know about them.

Here are the many ways we can be contacted:

– By emailing: buddyscheme@sussexstudent.com

– Come and see us at the Activities Office, First Floor, Falmer House. Open 11am – 4.30pm weekdays during term time.

- Email via the website

- Message us on Facebook

We received some feedback suggesting that they expected to be matched with a UK student and were disappointed to be matched with an international/EU student instead. The purpose of the Buddy Scheme is to help new students settle in at Sussex and any student that has been at Sussex for at least a term has gained the knowledge to do this regardless of their nationality. As not all our Buddy Volunteers are UK students this not feasible or necessary.

It was mentioned that you did not know where to find out about our events. We are surprised to hear this as they are listed on:

www.sussexstudent.com/buddyscheme/events

www.buddyscheme.com/calendar

www.facebook.com/sussexbuddyscheme

- Weekly email newsletter

- Students’ Union newsletter

It was suggested that new students could opt out of the Buddy Scheme. The Buddy Scheme is an opt in scheme to ensure that those that sign up have chosen to be a part of it. However if you change your mind and would no longer like to be a part of the Buddy Scheme. That’s not a problem, just let the Buddy Scheme team know: buddyscheme@sussexstudent.com

Your suggestion to have more informal drop in type events is something that we have tried every year and take up was very low, so this was discontinued.

Our budget limit dicates the event capacities as we heavily subsidise them to ensure that they are affordable to all. Some events also have capacity restrictions which we have no control over.

82% of respondents felt they were matched well with their Buddy. However, we acknowledge that due to the nature of a Masters degrees, there is a lack of Postgraduate Buddy Volunteers. We have made new contacts within the Postgraduate Association and are working with them to organise joint events to give postgraduates the opportunity to meet their peers. Working with the Doctoral School, IDS, and with the assistance of Rose Taylor, Postgraduate Education Officer, we hope to attract more Postgraduates to help new Postgraduates starting at Sussex.

Some new students felt that their buddy volunteer should be the first to make contact with them, yes this is the ideal scenario. However, it is absolutely fine for new students to take that first step if they feel able to, if they would prefer to go via the Buddy Scheme team then please get in touch!

There is a Frequently Asked Questions section on the website that answers some of these questions which you might want to have a look at our FAQs.