Student ambassadors Kendall Augustine and Lianne Smith assist guests a recent Beacon Salon Speaker Series event.
If visitors have questions, they’re the flesh-and-blood Siri.
If visitors are lost, they are a compass.
If visitors need a welcoming sign, they are the welcome wagon.
They are the navigators in blue (and gold), the face of Beacon College.
They are student ambassadors, the outreach team charged with making positive first impressions that stick with prospective parents, students, and the community — a function that has become more vital in an increasingly competitive national college market.
“At colleges across the country, students are visiting campuses and meeting student tour guides hoping for a connection, the feeling of belonging during a visit,” said Andrew Marvin, assistant director of admissions who oversees the student ambassador program. “A chance to interact with a current student is the gold standard for all college admissions offices. Our students’ personal experiences help to provide [context to] both an often overlooked student population that is questioning which college is the best fit for them and also others interested in our campus.”
The 2018-19 Beacon College student ambassador team includes: Kaitlin Jackson; Kheyany Web; Cassandra Bergman; Jesse Schreck; Anita Rollins; Ary Brown; Palmer Johnson; Tomi Lijadu; Daniel Soya; Emily Abramson; Ricardo Dox; Kendall Augustine; Jan Paul; Lianne Smith; Braeden Stern; Bryce Garg; China Smith; Kyle Joyce; Savannah Arner; Allana Wheeler; Jahleel Prentice; Dan Williams; and Andrew Bean.
Members of the student ambassador team.
To be considered, student ambassadors must be at least a second-semester freshman, be in good standing with the college, carry at least a 2.5 grade point average, and provide a staff or faculty member recommendation.
Kyle B Joyce, 22, who majors in computer information systems, joined the ambassador team “to get out and meet new people.” The junior from Jacksonville, Fla. said he gets a kick out of “being able to show new people our campus and how we are growing.”
For Cassandra Lee Bergman, 22, from Swarthmore, Pa., becoming a student ambassador meant she would become an emissary of possibility.
“I wanted to give hope to those with learning disabilities, autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,” Bergman said. “I have always wanted to go to college, but because I am autistic and had difficulty learning I had some moments where I didn’t think I would be able to attend college.”
That changed, the senior double majoring in psychology and human services said, “when I went on a tour of Beacon College during an open house and started to truly see myself going to college. I started to experience hope for my future education. As a student ambassador. I try to spread that hope to other potential students. For me providing this hope to families is the best part of being a student ambassador.”
While the role she enjoys is mission critical, the college this year beefed up the ambassador role, a program launched in 2011.
Ambassadors now support the college’s annual Parents Weekend activities, greeting and shepherding returning parents and families around campus.
“I became a student ambassador because I wanted to help the school by being a positive representative,” said Savannah Arner, a 22-year-old junior anthrozoology major from Golden, Co., “and also share with others the wonderful things about Beacon.”
For the first time, student ambassadors in November soloed with handled Giving Tuesday solicitation calls.
In addition, ambassadors for the first time were integrated into the college’s Beacon Salon events, the series of free lectures and performances that engage students and edify the attendees from around the region.
Ambassadors greet attendees, distribute flyers announcing upcoming events and answer questions about the series.
Their expanded role only underscore their expanded importance to the Beacon community.
“Student Ambassadors have taken on a larger role across and off campus,” said Andrew Marvin, assistant director of admissions who oversees the student ambassador program. They have magnified the college’s reputation, he said, noting, “That visitors on and off-campus through the Salon Series have an opportunity to speak with a Beacon College student and hear why they are proud to represent [the school]. … The big goal is to make sure anyone who visits campus can see a student in our classic navy blue and gold uniforms. They should come up and say hello. We are here to represent.”