Shortlisted for Outstanding Student Support

Senior Peer Guide Stevie Fox assists a new studentSenior Peer Guide Stevie Fox assists a new studentThey’ve become part of the Bangor University ‘landscape’ during Fresher’s Week: those brightly T-Shirted Peer Guides-but they really are something special. In fact, Bangor University’s Peer Guide Scheme has been shortlisted for a UK award for Outstanding Student Support, presented by the Times Higher Education (THE) magazine, the magazine covering the higher education sector in the UK.

Bangor’s Peer Guide Scheme is one of the largest of its type in the country. It matches up new students with current second and third year students who act as mentors, who arrange social activities, show students around and generally give advice, from the best place to shop- to signposting where to go in the University for academic or other support.  The Scheme has developed and expanded over the 15 years since the original pilot. This year for the first time, Post-graduate students have a parallel ‘buddy’ scheme - their own dedicated Postgraduate Ambassadors.

First year Criminology & Criminal Justice student, Owen Ladds said: "Thanks to Bangor's Peer Guides I was able to settle in so easily and make lots of friends who have now turned into my University family."

While BSc Computer Science student, Craig Parkinson said: “They help you too relax in a new environment, whilst showing you a good time.”

“The Peer Guides made me feel included from the minute I arrived,” said Jennifer Langdon a first year on the four year Marine Biology Masters Degree course.

“Students volunteer to become Peer Guides as they remember the fantastic welcome that they received during their own first few weeks at University, and genuinely want to give something back. They are thoroughly trained beforehand so that they become effective ‘signposts’ to services and support within the University” explained Kim Davies, who manages the programme at Bangor University, from recruitment and training to feedback and the annual in-house Peer Guide of the Year Award.

Edward Reynolds, a first time Peer Guide at the School of English remarked: “I remember what a nerve-wracking time the first week at University was, so want to help new students to enjoy their first week and hopefully the rest of their time in Bangor.” He added that the pleasure is in “Knowing that you’ve done a good job."

 Stevie Fox, a Senior Peer Guide at the School of English added:

“It’s all about helping freshers who are  arriving at University. They may be nervous and may be away from home for the first time. It’s a friendly face, a helping hand, someone who knows the ropes and knows where things are and how the system works.”

“It’s also about giving something back to the University. I know that sounds trite but what you’re doing is taking your own experience and seeing how you’d like to be treated.”

“Our experience is that the quicker students integrate socially, the quicker they also integrate academically. Peer Guides help by creating socialising opportunities for new students, both by being responsible for small groups of new students and for organising social events within their academic schools. This is of mutual benefit to the students and the University. The Peer Guides also benefit, gaining invaluable leadership and team-working employability skills in the process,” said Professor Colin Baker, Pro Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for Teaching & Learning at Bangor University.

“The contribution made by Peer Guides to the social and academic life of the University is also immeasurable, and makes us a truly caring University” he added.

Have you watched the Peer Guide profiles on Bangor TV ?

Publication date: 18 November 2010