A bird? A plane? Er no… it’s a Student Ambassador.
If you’ve ever visited the university on an open day or UMASS event, you’ll have probably noticed a bunch of cheery, smiley-faced, purple hoody-clad people known as student ambassadors. Here’s the lowdown on these mysterious hooded beings…
Who are student ambassadors?
We are current students employed by the university to assist with open days, visit days and other events that aim to advise prospective students on the benefits of progressing into higher education. They’re a crucial part of the open day experience, and as current students, they are in the best position to give you the facts about life at university. So don’t be shy about asking us questions – we are here to help!
What does an ambassador do?
There are many different events that an ambassador can help out with. These include doing activities with primary school students, giving guided tours of the university to parents and prospective students, helping out at summer schools and providing information about the course that they study. For example, on a typical UMASS event, student ambassadors need to collect visiting students from their drop off point, take them to a presentation, participate in a workshop or student panel, and lead a tour around campus before making sure the visitor gets back to where they need to be.
Do the ambassadors know each other?
Some ambassadors already know each other, but the majorities meet for the first time when working on events. Regular social activities are held for ambassadors to get to know each other better too – before Christmas, we went sledging at the Chill Factore and a Laser-tag session is in the pipeline for later this semester too! This is a great way to meet new people and many ambassadors form solid friendships with other ambassador’s that they’ve met on events. In my 4 years as an SA, I have met dozens of friends on the job!
Who can become an ambassador?
Anyone who can prove that they’re passionate about promoting higher education and university life is in the running for the role. Ambassadors come from many different backgrounds and the more variety the better.
What are the other reasons for becoming an ambassador?
Apart from the honour of wearing a glamorous student ambassador purple hoody, there are many other perks to the job. The main motivation for most is money. Yes, we get paid and yes, it’s not half bad for a student wage. It’s a nice way to get a bit extra to spend on top of your student loan, as well as the immensely satisfying feeling of having earnt your money yourself. Plus, you can work as much or as little as you want, depending on how busy your lecture timetable is. Events can range from being just a couple of hours long to up to a few days long, and mostly take place on the university campus, but sometimes in other locations like schools and convention centres. Even just a couple of hours a week can help put dinner on the table.
Something that some people take for granted is the valuable experiences and skills that you gain from working in such a variety of roles. Propping up a part-time job alongside your studies is a feat in itself, but the job also opens up a whole minefield of transferable skills which look very impressive on a CV. There are tonnes of opportunities to develop communication, teamwork and presentation skills amongst many others… an employer will have trouble turning you down!
An added bonus is that meeting potential students and telling them how great university life is also really, really fun. Other less-publicised perks are free biscuits and the occasional pen.