Student Ambassadors Work with University, Gain Leadership
KENNESAW, Ga. (Aug 17, 2020) — Ben Johnson wanted to be involved when he came to Kennesaw State last fall, and that opportunity came quickly when he was selected as a student brand ambassador for the Office of Admissions.
“It’s an opportunity for me to show the fun side of campus life as well as the academic side to students,” said Johnson, a mechatronics engineering major from Savannah, Ga. “It also gives me an opportunity to show off the Marietta Campus, which I always love to do.”
Across Kennesaw State’s campuses, student ambassador programs have been popping up in various academic and business units. From Admissions, Athletics and KSU Journey Honors College, these programs enable students to share their experiences with the campus community and serve as a resource for other students all while gaining valuable leadership and presentation skills.
As a brand ambassador, Johnson primarily uses social media, sharing his day-to-day activities with prospective students and fellow classmates to give them a feel for what it’s like to be a student at KSU.
Meanwhile, Joya King, a business management major, spends her time as an ambassador in the Office of Career Planning and Development, serving as a resource to other students.
“It has been very eye-opening for me. I have learned how to network, but I also have become a little less shy, and I am no longer afraid when my nerves get the best of me,” said King, who will have served two years as an ambassador when she graduates next spring. “My friends now rely on me to share what I have learned through Career Planning and I like being that resource for them.”
An inaugural cohort of Student Diversity Ambassadors will begin this fall for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (ODI), which opened up applications in the spring. ODI has hired six students for each campus to promote the department’s mission, as well as events on campus and in the metro Atlanta area, and connect with KSU’s registered student organizations and other affinity groups on campus. The goal is to increase student engagement with the department, and assist in creating an inclusive, welcoming and equitable learning and working community at Kennesaw State.
“Our new ambassadors will have the opportunity to innovate, collaborate and become important go-to resources as well as provide voices for inclusion on campus,” said Erica Brown, diversity specialist in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion who oversees the program. Brown added that the ODI ambassadors will assist in helping to advance the mission of the unit through programming and leadership development.
Both Admissions and Athletics launched their student brand ambassador programs in fall 2019.
Kelsey Gilbert, director of marketing and fan experience for KSU Intercollegiate Athletics, who oversees the Athletics ambassador program, said that the program was developed as a way to engage with students.
KSU Athletics recruits student brand ambassadors who are enticed by the opportunity to gain professional experience in social media regardless of their major or year in school, but Gilbert said many enjoy being actively involved at sporting events.
“Right now, we are trying to redevelop the program for the ambassadors to incorporate changes that we intend to see across Athletics this year,” Gilbert said.
Other ambassador programs include KSU Journey Honors College, which welcomes a new group of ambassadors who are selected each fall through an application and interview process, and the Coles College of Business’ Flight Academy and Coles Scholars program, which both incorporate ambassadorship among their other goals.
Most of the ambassador programs at KSU establish a rigorous training program where students better understand professionalism and how to best represent the University and the unit they are serving. In some ambassador programs, like Career Planning and Development, students meet frequently to participate in workshops to sharpen their skills, learn best practices and obtain updates from the staff.
While some positions provide students with a stipend or academic credit, most of the ambassador programs are solely volunteer based. Students who chose to be ambassadors said that they did it to be more involved on campus, gain new skills for future careers and give back to the unit or department.
“This was my opportunity to give back to the department for what they gave to me,” said King, who first sought out Career Planning when she was deciding on a major. “They helped me find my purpose at KSU.”
– Tiffany Capuano
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.