Student ambassadors offer unique spin on RSO experience

Students+enrolled+in+a+Statistics+class+listen+attentively+during+a+lecture+at+Lincoln+Hall+Theater+on+Dec.+3%2C+2019.

Brigida Dockus

Students enrolled in a Statistics class listen attentively during a lecture at Lincoln Hall Theater on Dec. 3, 2019.

By Ava Traverso

With Quad Day canceled and RSO interactions being limited due to the risk of COVID-19, returning and new students have to get creative when it comes to becoming more involved on campus. Though it may seem impossible to join new clubs without the sign-up access that Quad Day provides, there are student roles that are beneficial and pandemic-friendly. Many students may not be aware of this but every department likely has an organization for student ambassadors. 

A student ambassador serves as a positive role model for the department and a good influence on other students in the major. It is also a great addition to a resume that shows leadership experience and excellent communication skills with others.

I have been serving as a student ambassador for the department of natural resources and environmental sciences within the College of ACES for the past year and found the experience to be incredibly rewarding and educational. Pre-pandemic, my duties included attending freshman tours, answering emails from prospective students and speaking with visiting faculty members regarding my experiences within the department. I also found the role to be a great way to form stronger relationships with faculty members and professors and network with other students. 

During the pandemic, my role has been adapted to be similar but safer. What was once in-person visits with first-year students has evolved into group Zoom calls and email threads. What was once significant college-wide events will now become smaller, more intimate gatherings with department personnel. Though it may sound different than before, I know I will still be able to form positive, lasting relationships and leave a good impact on the program. It may not be the way I expected it to go, but I am still excited to usher in a new class of NRES students.

If you are wondering how you can become an ambassador for your major, there are a few steps you have to take before you can be granted ambassador status. Though it is likely different for every department, you can most likely contact the program’s department recruiter or student advisor for information on how to get involved. For me, my department’s undergraduate recruiter is the one who is in charge of our department. 

Then, you will probably have to fill out an application of some kind. The questions on my application mainly consisted of ones like: “Why do you want to be an ambassador?” and “Why do you think you should be chosen to represent the department?” Overall, they’re straightforward questions to help the program director get a sense of who you are as a student. 

I then had an interview with the person in charge, which provided a similar line of questioning. To prep for the interview portion, if there is one in your case, be honest with yourself about why you want to do it and what you can bring to the department. Do you have a high GPA? Are you an executive member of any clubs? Are you on any sports teams? Whatever it is, make sure to let your interviewer know. 

They will likely be looking for a diverse set of ambassadors, so anything that can set you apart from the pack is an excellent addition to your application.

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