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The Online Buddy Program

The Online Buddy Program is an online mentorship platform building meaningful relationships between older and younger students.

Photo of Karen Harpp
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Written by

I am a.....

  • Teacher
  • Group of 5 students who designed this project; the program doesn't exist yet, it's an idea!

Tell us about your idea

This project is an idea developed by five undergraduates at Colgate University, in response to the COVID-19 online education era. The program proposes to establish a supportive and safe virtual environment for student mentor pairs ("buddies") to connect, bond, and grow kinder together during a time that may be isolating for many children in their homes or elsewhere. You can read about the project here:

The proposal and idea are the work of Grace Klein, McKenzie Perkins, Edi Dukesherer, Erin Flannery, and Hunter Dauparas at Colgate University, for their course, Emerging Global Challenges. 

What part(s) of the pre-COVID school system do you wish to leave in the past? Why?

One major challenge of the pre-COVID and syn-COVID world is that many students students had to find their own way in the educational system without guidance from peers and older students; this program idea sets up a mentorship relationship with students from across age groups and cultures who can help each other navigate these challenges.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what inspired you to share this idea.

A group of 5 undergraduates at Colgate University were taking a design thinking course focused on accessibility challenges, when they suddenly had to go online with their education. So they pivoted their project to develop an idea to help build meaningful relationships between older and younger students in an age of social distancing. The program does not exist yet, it is an idea.

What region are you located in?

  • North America

Where are you located?

This is a group of students at Colgate University, in rural, upstate New York. The university has about 2,800 students enrolled, and is exclusively for undergraduate study. Colgate is located in Hamilton, NY, a small college town in the middle of the state.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Maike Strudthoff

I like the idea of buddy groups. It seems that students like to work together with other students (not random, not necessarily best friends, but others they trust and that have the same exercises to work on). Our research has shown that it has to be meaningful before being playful. Learning-by-Doing TOGETHER 

Photo of Karen Harpp

Thank you for sharing that result of your research, Maike, very interesting and relevant!

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