University Buddy Scheme
The University Buddy Scheme offers friendship and peer support to help you feel at home and part of our community, as well as enjoying getting involved in student life.
This page was last updated on 20 November 2023.
What’s the Buddy Scheme?
The University Buddy Scheme offers a fantastic opportunity for you to get to know someone new who you might not otherwise meet. The scheme is open to all students and you can apply at any point during your student journey. You'll be matched with a new or returning student from anywhere in the University at the same study level as you, who has similar interests.
We hope that this scheme will help you share the experience of settling in (or settling back in), exploring, taking part in activities, and making friends and connections.
The scheme was developed from an idea that came from students, who submitted it through the Leeds University Union forum. Our one-to-one buddy opportunity is adapted from the popular buddy scheme developed by Leeds University Business School.
Why should I apply to the University Buddy Scheme?
Have you just arrived in Leeds? Have you returned to your studies after a break? Simply want to meet someone new? The University Buddy Scheme will give you the opportunity to make new connections and support each other while in Leeds and (hopefully) beyond.
Whether you’re new to Leeds or not, you can join this scheme at any point of your university journey to meet someone new and share the experience of being a student at Leeds.
Being a member of the Buddy Scheme has a lot of benefits. It’ll help you meet new people, build networks, create a sense of community and try something new during our buddy socials.
How do I apply for a Buddy?
When completing your application:
- You’ll be asked for your University of Leeds email address. You can find more information about how to register for a University IT account/ find your University of Leeds email address here: https://mypassword.leeds.ac.uk/
- You’ll be asked a few questions about yourself and your interests.
After you apply:
- We’ll use the information you’ve submitted to match you with another student who has similar interests and is at the same level as you. The matching process will start from early September.
- Once we’ve found you a match, you’ll receive the name, University email address and an introduction from your buddy. Then it is over to you!
What previous students say about the scheme
“This photo shows me and the friends I met through the Buddy Scheme. It’s truly an awesome thing because it can be scary moving to a new place, but it’s a little less scary with some new friends.”
“Based on our common love for hikes, we went to Stoodley Pike. We packed our lunch, put some coffee in a thermos and enjoyed a four-hour hike. Afterwards we grabbed a drink in a local pub. Thanks to the Buddy Scheme I met a Arica. Although she has a totally different background and culture to me, we were brought together by our shared love of the outdoors. I highly recommend the Buddy Scheme as it offers the opportunity to connect with different people who you can share your hobbies with, creating new experiences while studying.” – Jessica
“My Buddy and I both loved travelling. We started planning regular trips to part of Leeds we hadn’t seen before together from the very first time we met. The photo is from the time we went to Kirkstall Abbey. The Buddy Scheme connected me with someone who I already had something in common with, offering me an instant connection with another Leeds student, the opportunity to cultivate my passions and learn more about other students’ cultures and backgrounds. I think it’s something wonderful that all students should apply for.” – Huibin
I’ve applied for the scheme, what happens next?
It can take a couple of weeks to match you. Once we’ve found you a match, you’ll receive a ‘meet your buddy’ email. This email will have the contact details of your match and some documents with information and ideas on activities that you can do together. It’s now up to you to get in contact with your buddy and start connecting.
The email address you’ll be contacted from is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please check your junk folder regularly.
University Buddy Scheme Guidance
What makes a good buddy?
Buddying is a relationship built on trust, openness, honesty and mutual respect. A good buddy is someone who is:
- approachable and supportive
- able to share experiences
- proactive about their own development
- self-aware, non-judgmental and objective.
An effective buddy will:
- be a fellow traveller to share the experience of settling in (or settling back in)
- build rapport and create a safe space to share issues or challenges, hopes and successes
- explore the purpose of the buddy relationship and what each buddy wants to achieve
- explore activities and options that will help buddies to move forward.
How can I get the most out of the buddy relationship?
Buddying is a two-way process which means that both of you will have to work at making the relationship a success. The more you put in, the more you’ll get out of the experience.
- Be motivated and willing to commit the time and effort to the relationship
- Be clear on the purpose of buddying and what you need from the relationship
- Be open to new ideas and approaches
- Be willing to share your experiences, insights and learning
University Buddy Scheme FAQ
What does ‘buddy’ mean?
Noun: A buddy is a person who befriends and helps another.
Verb: To become friendly and spend time with someone.
What is SUMAC?
SUMAC is the online platform that we use to manage the University Buddy Scheme.
You can log in to the scheme at any time to review and update your member profile:
- Go to https://sumac.ac.uk
- Click the ‘Sign in button’
- Click the ‘Forgotten your password’ link
- This will allow you to set your own secure password and then log in to view your profile.
Please note that the secure password technology requires a strong password. You will see a password strength indicator on the screen as you enter your password. This technology accepts spaces, so a memorable phrase or sentence can be used as a password.
During your time on the scheme, email updates will be sent from the email address ‘email@example.com’.
We recommend that you add this email address to your ‘safe senders.’ You can access self-help articles by visiting the SUMAC knowledge base – watch the members portal overview video.
Can I have more than one buddy?
Yes, you can be matched with more than one buddy. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can update your profile and match you with another buddy.
How do I join the scheme?
Fill in a short application in the ‘How can I apply for a Buddy?’ section above on this page. Tell us about your hobbies and write an introduction to your buddy which we will share with them once you have been matched.
Do I have to join the Buddy Scheme at the start of the year?
No. You’re welcome to join the Buddy Scheme at any point in the academic year, whatever year or programme you’re in.
What should I do with my buddy?
It’s up to you and your buddy to decide! When you receive the ‘meet your buddy’ email you will find a ‘do it together’ resource pack which has lots of ideas about activities to try and join together, including our weekly Global Café. You might decide to meet for a coffee, go for a walk around Hyde Park, explore a new area of Leeds or study together.
The great thing about the Buddy Scheme is that it is very informal and you can go to events with your buddy, meet up for lunch or just hang out. It is up to you, just make sure you and your buddy have discussed what you feel comfortable with when meeting up. Why not meet in a public place on campus for coffee or come to one of our Buddy Scheme events together?
How can/do I contact my buddy?
Once we’ve found you a match, you’ll receive a ‘meet your buddy’ email. This email will have the contact details of your match including their University of Leeds email address.
You will also be able to chat with your buddy through the chat function on SUMAC via the member portal. Log in to the Member Portal and click through to view your live partnerships. Once you are viewing your partnership screen you will be able to use the chat feauture. This works much like the chat feature in other applications, and you can chat to each other in real time.
Remember there’s no rule on who should make the first contact. Be proactive and contact your buddy match as soon as you can to introduce yourself and start your buddy partnership.
What are buddy socials?
Throughout the year the Buddy Scheme will host a series of events for buddies on the scheme to attend with and without their buddy. They provide opportunities to hang out with thier matched buddy, meet others on the scheme and try something new, fun and different.
Events and activities include crafts, games, getting to know each other activities plus others… and always free refreshments!
My buddy isn’t what I had in mind
We hope this will not be the case but if you feel you have nothing in common with your buddy or can’t benefit them, please email email@example.com and we will try and resolve the situation. Please be open with your buddy and tell them how you feel.
If you would like to be matched with a new buddy or feel you are not being supported in the way you expected, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will see what we can do to make your experience a better one.
My buddy isn’t replying to me
We’re sorry to hear your buddy isn’t replying to you. We would encourage you to contact them for one final time and have an open conversation with them, tell them how you feel and ask them to confirm if they would like to continue the buddy relationship. Set a deadline for them to respond by.
If you have contacted your buddy and still haven’t heard anything back please let us know by emailing email@example.com. We can re-match you with a new buddy.
I no longer want to be part of the Buddy Scheme
Please complete the Buddy Scheme Leavers form to formally withdraw from the buddy scheme.
It is absolutely fine to leave the scheme if that’s what you feel you would like to do. Please tell us if you decide to leave the scheme and let your buddy know about your decision too. We’ll also contact them to let them know you’re no longer part of the scheme and we’ll match them with someone else.
Can I practise a language through the Buddy Scheme?
This is something that can happen naturally as you build your buddy relationship but it’s not the main focus of the Buddy Scheme.
More opportunities to connect and belong
Other ways to meet people
As well as having a buddy, there are lots of other ways to get to know people.
Want to connect to a student in your School? Check your school welcome page for peer support schemes and other activities available.
Looking for someone who is of similar age, cultural background, faith, sexual orientation or gender identity specifically? Find your place in one of the many Leeds University Union Clubs and Societies.
The Buddy Scheme will match you with a student who’s at the same study level as you but if you’re a postgraduate student, you can also check the Postgraduate Hub. Are you a postgraduate researcher? Look out for opportunities to connect in the Doctoral College Newsletter.
Want to practice a language? Our Language Zone offers Language Exchange opportunities. You can also join student-led Language Groups.
Were you aged 21+ when you started your Undergraduate programme? Feel a little older than your 18-20 year old peers, but don’t feel you relate to, or identify, as a mature student either? Middle Ground Network is here for you! Find out more and register to join the network here and become part of our growing community!
Have more questions about the Scheme?
Contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org