The Pioneer Guide program, formerly known as the Student Ambassador program, at Sacred Heart University is an initiative designed to foster connections between prospective and current students at the university.
The students, Pioneer Guides, and senior admissions assistants have the job of promoting SHU through their passion for the university by inspiring others to be a part of the school community by enrolling for admission.
There are currently 112 ambassadors who want to share their passions about Sacred Heart with others.
“The Pioneer Guides do a lot more of that individualistic and anecdotal experience with prospective families,” said Associate Director of Campus Experience Mia Coluccio. “They have their admissions counselor to tell them the hard facts and figures, but the Pioneer Guides can fill in the gaps there and paint their own picture of what their experience has been like.”
As the associate director, Coluccio works closely with and oversees the daily and weekend visit programs, group tours, counselor visits.
“They handle everything from prospective student events like open houses, weekend and weekday tours, admitted student days, early decision days, and Pioneer Preview days,” said Admissions Counselor Jackson Tse.
Tse leads the Pioneer Guides by managing, scheduling, overseeing, and handling the guides on a daily basis.
Junior Mairead Dokurno has been a part of the program for two years.
“It is such a rewarding experience being a part of this program. Nothing beats the feeling after a tour when families recognize your work and say they enjoyed their tour with you,” said Dokurno. “I love being able to talk to families and incoming students while making an impact on their SHU experience.”
Sophomore Meghan Bernard said, “I wanted to become a Student Ambassador because I wanted to be able to give prospective students the same home feeling I got when I first toured SHU and to be able to express my love for Sacred Heart.”
Bernard represents Sacred Heart by giving tours and answering prospective students’ questions about her experience.
“I also have loved the sense of leadership I have gained from being an ambassador,” said Bernard. “Being a Pioneer Guide has taught me how to be a leader and how to present myself highly on campus and off. I have also gained a lot of confidence in this role.”
In order to become a Pioneer Guide, students can apply and attend information session on the program during the spring semester.
Once accepted into the program, there is an ambassador training week at the end of the summer where they go over tour routes, scripts, and do team bonding to get to know one another. Sophomore Leah Navarra is just finishing her first semester as a Pioneer Guide.
“I believe this program supports the mission of Sacred Heart because we are able to show future students how Sacred Heart can be the perfect fit for them,” said Navarra. “It is a very rewarding experience to feel like you are a part of something bigger at Sacred Heart and are doing something good for the future of Sacred Heart.”
Any full time Sacred Heart student can be a Pioneer Guide. However, the requirements include completing one academic year at Sacred Heart and having a minimum GPA of 2.75.“The mission of it is to welcome future pioneers to campus,” said Tse. “Everyone who steps foot on our campus have been touched by a Pioneer Guide in one way or another. They might not remember their tour, but they always remember their Pioneer Guide.”