The Office of Admissions will unveil a new student ambassador program Friday during Wildcat Preview Day.
More than two dozen students will be positioned around campus to interact and connect with perspective Wildcats as they tour campus for the first time, said Mackenzie Mascorro, director of student ambassadors. The ambassadors will work in multiple capacities to serve the visitors, but all will attempt to show how ACU is different from other places they visit.
“This program is all about relationships because that’s what separates ACU from other places,” said Mascorro, junior management major from Abilene. “It’s all about that one-on-one connection.”
Leslie Hayes, director of campus visits, said her office looks forward to expanding the program, which already has about 30 ambassadors.
Although they work on a volunteer basis, the job still has its perks. Ambassadors receive free Wildcat gear, free food and free tickets to ACU events.
Ambassadors will perform multiple duties during preview days. Some will work to greet the perspective students as they arrive, others will guide them from location to location and some will eat with them.
Admission counselors heard that perspective students were interested in a personal connection with actual college students during their visits and tried forming an ambassadors program several years ago. Their efforts were not successful, but it was not until they went to a conference in Chicago that they figured out how to address the need. There, they learned other universities were using student ambassadors to connect with campus visitors.
The role of being the face of the university previously fell on the shoulders of campus tour guides. However, on large preview days, there were too many perspective students for tour guides to make any kind of personal connection.
A former tour guide, Mascorro already had a passion for incoming students and had experience in bridging the gap between students and visitors.
“I wasn’t one of those kids where ACU was the only school I looked at,” Mascorro said. “I know there are other schools with excellent academics and bigger athletic departments, but ACU has something special to offer.”
As the student director, Mascorro works hand-in-hand with the ambassadors. Meanwhile, Hayes works more behind the scenes to make the program work logistically.
Qualifications for an ambassador are relatively simple. Mascorro said he was in search of students who love Christ, love ACU and love people. With the help of the admissions office, he recruited help from the admissions office to find students who would fit the criterion. Two weeks ago, he received a list of names has chosen and trained his volunteers for Friday.
“I remember what it was like to be a high school kid on a college campus,” said Kyle Karnei, new student ambassador and a sophomore accounting major from McGregor. “It can be an overwhelming experience, but a friendly face can make all the difference.”
The ambassadors have yet to work a preview day, but Mascorro and Hayes already have plans for expanding the program. The ideas of developing a shadowing program and in-house visits are in discussion.