Frequently Asked Questions

I've never worked with adults with disabilities and am a little nervous.  What should I expect?

Most students who participate in The Buddy Program have not worked closely with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, so you should not be concerned!  As a Whitman buddy you will have a brief training on what to expect with Parent-to-Parent organizer Carla Nibler.  You will also have the opportunity to be in contact with the parent/legal guardian of your buddy to discuss any of your concerns throughout your time as a Whitman buddy.

How can I apply to be a Whitman buddy?

Applications for The Buddy Program become available in September, which you can fill out online.  Depending on the number of Whitman buddies studying abroad for the spring semester, it is often possible to become a buddy starting in January.

What is my commitment to my buddy?

As a Whitman buddy you are required to meet with your buddy twice a month at The Buddy Program events.  Additionally, you will make contact with your buddy on two other separate occasions throughout the month.  These contacts can include emails, phone calls, facebook chats, letters, in-person outings, etc.  Just as with any other friendship, your relationship with your buddy will become deep and lasting as a result of consistent contacts and "friend dates".   

How will I be matched with my buddy?

You will be matched with your buddy based on your responses to the matching survey portion of the online application.  We try our best to take into consideration other factors such as location of the community buddy in proximity to campus and your individual schedule. 

I am studying abroad in the spring, can I be a buddy for only one semester?

While it is preferable that you stick with your buddy for a full year, we do understand that studying abroad is a valuable aspect of the Whitman experience.  If you are studying abroad your buddy will be reassigned to a new buddy the following semester.  Although you will no longer be on campus, you are strongly encouraged to stay in contact via email/phone/facebook if possible.

What should I do if I can't make it to a Buddy Program event?

Please contact The Buddy Program intern ( at least 72 hours prior to the event.  Additionally, make contact with your buddy to inform him/her that you will not be present also three days before the event.