Not Your Average Tour Guide

Every day prospective students and their families visit colleges and universities looking for the next step in their education journey. At Sacred Heart University, Student Ambassadors are the first faces those prospective students see when they step foot on to campus.

The Student Ambassador Program is a selective organization comprised of undergraduate students, all with different backgrounds and experiences. They all have the same objective, to help recruit the next generation of Pioneers. And the program is currently recruiting new members.

Although the primary responsibilities of this group are to facilitate tours for prospective students and families, they do much more than that.

Rob Gilmore, a SHU alumnus and current Director of Campus Experience, took over the Student Ambassador Program in 2011.

“The Ambassador program is a unique opportunity that provides leadership skills to students, while acting as the official student representatives of Sacred Heart to all incoming prospective students at the university as well as visitors to Sacred Heart in general,” said Gilmore.

Student Ambassadors work at Curtis Hall as part of Undergraduate Admissions. These individuals are trained to give efficient tours while providing families essential information about the university and answering any questions they might have. They also assist around the office, at open houses and admissions events, with freshmen move-in, and so much more.

“A student ambassador doesn’t necessarily have to be involved in a million things at the school,” said Gilmore. “They should have an appreciation for getting involved and a willingness to learn new things and to have a good time when they’re working. [We’re looking for] someone who will see this as a fun opportunity but also as a growth opportunity.”

Julia Tavolilla, a former ambassador herself, and current Associate Director of Campus Experience, said that she loves Sacred Heart for the growth and the opportunities that it provides students.

The program is seeking students who can talk about their passions, who have good one-on-one skills, and students who can retain information well.

As well as, “someone that brings energy to families, to the office, and to their fellow student ambassadors. Someone that wants to tell their story and leave their mark here,” said Tavolilla.

The virtual application to join Student Ambassadors goes live on Feb. 27 and is due back by March 17. The selection process includes first, a review of one’s application and then a student can be offered an interview. Candidates will find out if they have been invited to join the program in April.

“Joining student ambassadors challenged the trajectory of my college career by making me more involved on campus and introducing me to a group of people who share the same love for SHU,” said Samantha Bailey, a senior in the Ambassador Program.

The Student Ambassador Program expects students to contribute in a number of ways, but they can expect to gain as much as they put in.

“This position allows students to absorb certain techniques and certain skills that can be used in any profession,” said Gilmore. Some that he listed were comprehension skills, public speaking skills, and confidence building.

Some graduates from the Ambassador Program have become admissions counselors for the university or faculty in other Sacred Heart departments. And many ambassadors have gone on to pursue careers in broadcasting, dentistry, law, etc.

The Student Ambassador Program looks for students who want to positively impact the university and help the community grow, while growing as an individual themselves.

“This program has taught me how to connect with anyone of any background and be able to tell my story while they’re just beginning to tell their own,” said Bailey.

Brendan Williams contributed to this article.

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