WattBuds (Dubai)

WattBuds is a buddy system programme aimed at pairing new students at the University with continuing students in their third or fourth year to provide you with the information that you will need to help you succeed.

See the drop-down boxes below for some more information about the programme.

What is the WattBuds peer support programme?

WattBuds is a buddy system program aimed at pairing new undergraduate students at Heriot-Watt University Dubai Campus (HWUDC) with students in undergraduate Year 3 or 4. It is designed to offer peer support to new students to help them settle into university life in Dubai .

What schools are involved in the program?

WattBuds is a pilot programme currently rolled out for students in the Degree Entry Programme (DEP), School of Social Sciences (SoSS), Energy, Geoscience, Infrasturcture and Society (EGIS), Energy and Physical Sciences (EPS), Mathematical and Computer Sciences (MACS) and School of Textiles and Design (SoTD) .

What does “Big Bud” and “Little Bud” mean?

“Big Buds” are the senior students offering peer support. “Little Buds” are all new students joining HWUD.

What kind of support will Big Buds offer Little Buds?

The program aims to provide new students a point-of-contact to help with their day-to-day non-academic related challenges. However, Big Buds can direct Little Buds to appropriate academic and administrative support personnel (e.g., the Little Buds’ Personal Tutor, Course Coordinator, Head of School, Library, Student Learning Support, and Dubai Student Services). They can also introduce Little Buds to university clubs and events, be a friendly person to chat with, advise Little Buds about other resources available on-campus, answer their general queries and guide them about things to do in Dubai, and much more!

Who can register to be a Big Bud?

All applicants will be reviewed by the organizing committee. If the committee has any concerns about a student’s ability to manage the requirements of being a Big Bud alongside their academic work and other personal responsibilities, we may decide that it is in the best interests of the student to not be a Big Bud. This will be communicated to the concerned student .

What trainings will Big Buds be provided?

Students accepted as Big Buds will be required to undergo a mandatory two-hour training delivered by Dr. Kirin Hilliar from the Department of Psychology. This training will take place online on August 30, from12pm-2pm. Invitations will be sent out to all Big Buds closer to the date. Attendance at the session is mandatory and students are asked to block out this time in their diary and make themselves available to attend. This date/time was finalised to allow selected Big Buds to assist Little Buds in preparations for Welcome Week (starting September 5, 2021). As part of the training, Big Buds will be given a brief homework assignment to complete after the training session. Assignments will have to be turned in on August 31 at 5pm. NOTE: Failure to attend the Big Buds training or complete the homework exercise will result in removal from the programme. If a student cannot attend the training due to personal reasons, they will have an opportunity to do the training later, in coordination with Dr. Kirin. It is the responsibility of the student who cannot attend to be proactive about contacting Dr. Kirin to make alternative arrangements.

How will Little Buds be allocated to a Big Bud?

Little Buds are automatically assigned a Big Bud upon enrolment to the university. Big Buds will be asked to reach out to the Little Buds using the university email system once they receive their student details, by September 1. Big Buds must try and reach out to their Little Buds latest by September 4, to prepare them for Welcome Week. A social event will be planned during Welcome Week, and it would be great for Little Buds to establish a strong rapport with their Big Bud by then. NOTE: At this time, we estimate that Big Buds will be allocated about 10-15 Little Buds for the 2021-22 academic year.

How do Big Buds and Little Buds get in touch?

Once the Big Bud reaches out to the Little Bud, the two can decide on a preferred way of communication. You may opt to keep in contact via face-to-face meetings, WhatsApp, Email, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Facebook Messenger, or any other means you both consider appropriate.

Can Little Buds choose their Big Bud?

No. Big Buds and Little Buds are allocated by the WattBuds organizing committee. Allocations are made across disciplines to help students get to know other students outside their area of study.

How do the Big Bud and Little Bud work together?

That is upto the two to decide. This programme is a service Little Buds can use based on their needs. Also, Big Buds might decide to meet several Little Buds together (note that each Big Bud has 10-15 Little Buds allocated to them) – for example, to play video games, watch a movie, etc. We also want Little Buds to feel comfortable reaching out to their Big Bud for any queries, get activity suggestions, or anything else.

What is the duration of this programme?

The programme lasts for an entire academic year. At the end of Semester 2, Big Buds will be given a Certificate of Completion acknowledging their efforts. Little Buds and Big Buds are welcome to stay in contact after the end of the programme. During the next academic year (2022-23), a new cohort of Big Buds will volunteer to welcome our next batch of Little Buds! Year 3 students volunteering as Big Buds in the ongoing academic year are welcome to volunteer again in Year 4.

How can Little Buds interact with others?

In 2021-22, WattBuds will be launching a committee of Big Buds and Little Buds (about 6 students in total) who will organise and host various social events throughout the year. More information will be released about this later, but have a think about whether you would like to get involved in the WattBuds Events Committee. These events will be supported by the WattBuds organizing committee (including some limited funding to help facilitate events) and can be either online (e.g., online trivia night) or face-to-face (e.g., Scavenger Hunt around the campus). Little Buds and Big Buds will have the opportunity to meet other students. Big Buds are welcome to arrange one-on-one meetups with their Little Buds, meet several Little Buds together, or interact with other Big Buds. The programme is aimed at bringing out the best in every student.

Where can we drop in our feedback regarding the WattBuds programme?

The organizing committee will have regular ‘check-ins’ with both Big Buds and Little Buds throughout the year (held over Microsoft Teams). Exact dates/times are yet to be finalised. Our new Student Success Advisor, in August will meet with Little Buds, while Dr. Kirin will meet the Big Buds. This gives all students in the programme an opportunity to share their suggestions. Queries and feedback can also be emailed to the Student Success Advisor (email TBC later in August) or k.hilliar@hw.ac.uk throughout the academic year.

Thank you for your interest!

Despite having their own academic and personal responsibilities, we appreciate the Big Buds involvement in the development of new students. Given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on a student’s university experience, we hope that Big Buds can help contribute to a wider sense of student community.

Key information

Student Success Advisor