(described by Michael Bush, PhD 2004)
the last couple (4-5?) years new students have been paired up with an
older student ("Buddy"). These older students usually participate in
some (or all) of the orientation activities (eg the lunch and final
BBQ) and are expected to answer questions and help the new students
adjust to graduate student life.
think this program is a good idea. Even though for most students the
amount of contact with their buddy may not extend much beyond the
orientation, in some cases it does. Particularly, for international
students who are often making cultural adjustments it is good to have
someone to talk to about various things.
system could probably benefit from one or two department sponsored
activities post orientation (perhaps a mid-semester cook out in one of
the parks?) but other than this a hands off approach is probably best.