Buddy Program Combats Campus Isolation


Christie Lenahan

Seniors Regan Stambaugh and Cooper Lenahan encourage students to join the Campo Buddy Program at Club Day.

With many of Campolindo’s underclassmen coming to high school for the first time due to the pandemic, it’s unsurprising to see wide-spread negative emotion, such as nervousness or loneliness. Leadership seniors Regan Stambaugh and Cooper Lenahan plan to combat these feelings with the new Campolindo Buddy Program, launched the week of September 8.

Drafted last summer, Stambaugh and Lenahan were inspired to make this program by the realisation that only this year’s seniors have spent a full, COVID-free year at Campolindo. They were also moved to action in response to the 2020 bullying survey taken during the virtual year, with a significant number of students feeling as though they don’t belong on campus.

“These past few years have been really hard, and we wanted to make sure that kids who are returning to campus for the first time in a while are guaranteed to have someone…that helps [make] school feel less intimidating,” said Lenahan.

The program is a system in which older, more experienced students will be paired with younger, or more inexperienced, students, providing a familiar face on campus. Stambaugh hopes that the program will “foster belonging at Campo,” and “will continue to run after Cooper and I graduate.”

Buddies have the power to change someone’s experience at Campolindo, and to make someone’s life on campus less lonely; Stambaugh and Lenahan’s goal is for older buddies to use that power to its fullest potential. “If a younger buddy feels like they are not benefiting from the buddy program, they can let me or Cooper know and we will pair them with someone else,” said Stambaugh.

In addition to Stambaugh and Lenahan’s own efforts, there have been many people instrumental in the creation of this program. Ginger Stambaugh and Christie Lenahan have both helped to get the club up and running, Lindsay Webb-Peploe has helped get the word out through newsletters and emails, and, of course, Campo’s associate principal Vanessa Knight works as the program’s advisor.

Currently, there have been over 40 students who have signed up to be older buddies. “The older buddy turnout has been fantastic, and we are hopeful that it will mean an overall shift in the Campo culture from what we saw in the surveys,” Stambaugh said.

Senior Namratha Kasalanati is 1 of many students who have signed up to be part of this new program. “[The Buddy Program] is something I would have loved to have had as a freshman. My hope is that it contributes to a more welcoming and inclusive campo culture,” said Kasalanati.

Though the program is relatively new, Stambaugh and Lenahan hope that it will foster belonging on campus, and strengthen Campolindo’s sense of community. “There is only so much that a couple students can do, but Cooper and I hope that this program will be the beginning of a shift at Campolindo towards inclusivity and kindness,” added Stambaugh.

If you are interested in signing up either to be a buddy or to get a buddy, you can sign up HERE.