Q: What are Peer Partners and Ambassadors?
A: Peer Partners is the term used to describe Incoming/First Year Students participating in the Building Bridges program. The term Ambassadors is used to describe returning student participants.
Q: Why should I participate in Building Bridges?
A: Building Bridges offers returning students the opportunity to provide support and advice to incoming students on the transition to graduate school and to increase the sense of community at the School of Social Work. Building Bridges provides participants with a means to give back to the SSW Community and to gain exposure to students with different perspectives and experiences. Past Ambassadors have stated that Building Bridges allowed them to provide students with an easier transition than they themselves experienced, or alternatively, that they wanted to pass along the support and advice they received when they began their time and the SSW. In addition, the Building Bridges Ambassador position is a great experience to list on a résumé. Please note that Building Bridges is not intended to replace students’ academic advisors, or to provide counseling services to students.
Q: Who can participate in Building Bridges as an Ambassador?
A: To participate in the program students must be a returning matriculated full-time or part-time student, who agrees to a one-year commitment to the program, attend program events as required and is willing to create a sustaining and supportive relationship with their Peer Partner.
Q: What sort of time commitment is required for Building Bridges?
A: Ambassadors are required to attend training, as well as Orientation, as well as a few required events throughout the year (see below). However, the time Ambassadors and Peer Partners meet with each other is extremely flexible! It is based entirely on you and your Peer Partner’s schedules and needs.
Q: What sort of events will I need to attend?
A: The required events for Ambassadors are:
- Ambassador Training – June 12, 2014, 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
- Building Bridges Meet & Greet – June 12, 2014, 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. (directly after training)
- Over the summer, all Building Bridges participants are required to attend a welcome reception which goes over the expectations for the program, and allows all of the participants to get to know one another;
- Building Bridges Fall Social – Date TBD;
- Building Bridges Spring Social – Date TBD
Q: Are there any assignments associated with Building Bridges?
A: No! Building Bridges is not a class, but an opportunity to develop relationships with students who are familiar with the UConn School of Social Work. Periodically throughout the year participants will be asked to fill out surveys, so we can assess the success of the program and find ways to improve, but no actual assignments are required.
Q: How are Building Bridges Partners assigned?
A: Students in the Building Bridges program can indicate their partner preference based on one or more criteria: their Method Concentration, ethnicity, gender, and students with children. Other specific pairing criteria can be requested.
Q: How do Ambassadors and Peer Partners communicate?
A: We have found that each Ambassador and Peer Partner find the method that works best for them; some of the most common ways are:
- In person meetings
- Via email
- Phone conversations
Q: What if I do not get along with my Peer Partner?
A: If for some reason a match between a Peer Partner and an Ambassador is not meeting the students’ needs, the Director of Student Services can intervene and facilitate the process for a new match.
Q: If I decide to participate once the fall semester has started, can I still join?
A: Unfortunately, because of the commitments for training and other events, we can only accept Ambassadors into the Building Bridges program during the spring application process.
Q: How do I apply?
A: Simply follow the link below to the application;
- Ambassador Application
- Applications will be reviewed by Student Services – Candidates may be asked to participate in an interview with the Director of Student Services.
- All applications must be submitted no later than April 14th.
Q: How will I know if I have been accepted?
A: You will receive an email regarding your application, as well as any additional information you need to know to move forward in the process. Final decisions will be made mid-May.
Q: How long does it take to be matched?
A: All Ambassadors should be matched with their Peer Partners by late May.
Q: How do I make initial contact with my Peer Partner?
A: You should get in touch with your Peer Partner prior to the Building Bridges Meet & Greet held in Mid-June. If you are not able to establish contact with them before the Meet & Greet, please contact Student Services at 860-570-9137.
Your question not answered here? For more information, please contact:
Milagros Marrero-Johnson, MSW
Director of Student Services