The Student Ambassador Program is increasing benefits for volunteers with Open Houses and Preview Weekends at ACU.
The Student Ambassador Program is a service-centered group of volunteer students who offer advice and guidance to prospective students visiting campus for the first time. The group is expected to be available for any task the directors of campus visits ask them to complete, and engage in conversation with the prospective students and their families.
Darci Armstrong, associate director of campus visits, said the goal of the changes is to encourage student involvement with campus visits.
“Student ambassadors can volunteer to help us on our big visit days, such as Wildcat Preview day or Admitted Students day,” Armstrong said. “Sometimes they might be greeting or escorting families around campus or just talking about their personal experiences, but it’s really just a great way to get more students involved in meeting prospective students.”
The program currently consists of about 30 students. Armstrong said the directors are hoping to expand the number of student ambassadors to around 100 members in the near future. The Student Ambassador Program at ACU began a few years ago when Leslie Hayes, director of campus visits, attended a conference about campus visits.
“We realized that a lot of other schools were using volunteer programs to make college students available to high school students when they visited,” Hayes said. “We were trying to build a stronger student presence. So, we decided to start the ambassador program. It has been great.”
The program has continued to progress through the past three years. Hayes said student ambassadors play a major role in giving new students a firsthand look into everyday life at ACU.
“The main thing we want the ambassadors to do is visit with prospective students,” Hayes said. “When high school students come to visit colleges, the number one thing they request is that they get to interact with college students. They want to hear about their experiences, what they love and what the real story is.”
The directors of the Student Ambassador Program said they were excited to share some of the new ideas to provide extra benefits for volunteers, besides the service hour credits each volunteer receives.
“We are just trying to amp up the Student Ambassador Program by offering some incentives, whether that is parties or gifts,” Armstrong said. “We are also hoping more students will take ownership that this is the school that they love and will want to be a part of the recruiting process. We are trying to make it a more exciting program to be a part of, so that, hopefully, we can get more ACU students to join our team.”
Student ambassadors usually receive first priority in consideration for tour guide jobs when the admissions office begins the selection process. The ambassadors have been rewarded with Starbucks coffee coupons, movie tickets, candy and ice cream parties.
“We are always trying to think of fun, little ways to say thank you to ambassadors, because they are awesome,” Hayes said. “It can change the way a visit day feels when there are lots of students around that are energetic and having fun. It can make the difference for a high school student that they got to interact with someone that is here, living it and loving it. We want to be appreciative of our student ambassadors, so we are always thinking of new ways to do that.”