The sun has barely risen as Chris Quinn begins to get ready for his day. He throws on a pair of jeans, his favorite tennis shoes and his Student Life t-shirt and makes his way to the college. As Quinn arrives at the barren parking lot, he finds a spot near the entrance of the Student Center. With his mask on and backpack in hand, he begins his day as a student ambassador.
Cav leaders more commonly referred to as student ambassadors serve as the official representatives of the college. In addition to being the official face for the college, student ambassadors also provide campus tours, work with Student Life to organize and execute events for students and help students get in touch with resources.
“We cover a lot of different places [during the day],” Quinn said. “It changes a lot; for me I work a lot in the Basic Needs Center, and I also work in the Center for Student Involvement a good bit too. We have a lot of time covering desks and most of the time, traffic on campus is pretty slow, so we’ll be working on our events for a good portion of that time.”
A typical day consists of working at different locations throughout the college and assisting any student, staff member or visitor of the college. Due to COVID-19, a lot of aspects of the student ambassador role has changed.
“Something that’s changed a lot [since] COVID is our team [versus] team leads,” Quinn said. “Once COVID hit and [ambassadors] graduated, we didn’t really replace a lot of roles because it was a lot slower and there were less events. The team sort of disintegrated a little bit and people would just focus on certain events.”
Prior to the pandemic, Quinn had served as the games and tournaments team lead. He oversaw and organized events that had games or a tournament aspect to them.
“Pre-COVID I was the games and tournaments team lead and then once COVID hit that sort of kept going for a while until there was no longer anyone else and it was just me,” Quinn said. Then it became a lot more collaborative with other ambassadors. I just handle most of the logistics [for events], there are other elements that I would have no chance of doing without my teammates; like the marketing or using social media. I’m definitely lucky to have a lot of really capable teammates who can do a lot of stuff that I can’t.”
When there are no students to help, the ambassadors work on planning upcoming events for students. Although, there are fewer students that are on campus due to COVID-19 restrictions, Student Life still aims to get students involved in activities at the college. While there were difficulties in the 2020 Spring semester, the ambassadors worked hard to make virtual events that kept students engaged with the college.
Through applications like Zoom and Discord, student ambassadors were able to host virtual events that still allowed them to connect and communicate with students.
“[In the spring] no one really wanted to think about events, but then in the fall it started to set in that this is where we are now,” Quinn said. “At that point we definitely did start getting more involvement from students and we also sort of mix things up a little bit too. We started using a student Discord server for the Student Lounge and student engagement stuff and we got a good number of people on there. We also found that there was a better medium to host events.”
While the process has been slow for getting student involvement to return to what it was like prior to the pandemic, one ambassador is looking forward to seeing more faces on campus in the fall. Taia Sarazov recently started working at the front desk in the Student Center, but with little to no students on campus she spends most of her time working on homework or Student Life projects.
“One of my favorite parts [about working] would be just the community environment here,” Sarazov said. Everybody is super welcoming and [collaborative]; they throw you in at first and it’s like sink or swim, but they’re all there to help you.”
As a recent hire, Sarazov has only had experience working as an ambassador during COVID-19. However, with talk of opening the college back to its regular status, Student Life have begun planning for the Fall semester.
“We’ve been talking about this internally; like changes that can happen and things like that,” Sarazov said. “One of the big things is […] more outreach to students who are doing online classes. Online classes existed before COVID, but now we’re more aware of that, and there’s a lot more stuff we can do that isn’t just on campus.”
Although restrictions have limited some events, there are still plenty of upcoming activities that Student Life and the ambassadors have planned.
“We like to do a lot of stuff promoting certain topics, right now we’re doing something with MOCSA regarding like assault awareness and those kinds of things for the month of April,” Sarazov said. “Additionally, we have leadership seminars going on that you can see on [the] Get Involved [website]. We’ve got a talent show planned for later this month and I’m excited about that. I think this is also our time for figuring out what our limits are for events, so we’re trying out a lot of stuff right now and doing a lot of experimentation.”
With the end of the semester almost on the horizon, the student ambassadors want students to know that they can always reach out for help regarding anything related to the college.
“[Students] can always come by to visit us; somebody is always going to be here,” Sarazov said. “People should know that they’re not as alone as it feels like they are just because they don’t see people [everyday]. They are whole teams of people who want to hang out with you; just make that first step and then you can get there.”
Stay up to date on all events planned by Student Life and the student ambassadors by checking out Get Involved. For more information regarding the student ambassadors and how to join, go to their website.
Story by Alieu Jagne
To see what daily life is like for the student ambassadors, check out our day in the life photos.