I was so excited when I was offered the Recruitment Coordinator position at The Universities at Shady Grove (USG) nearly three years ago. My family and friends were delighted for me, too, but despite us all living in Montgomery County, I kept getting the same question from everyone I told: “What exactly is USG?”
Admittedly, I had been unsure of the answer to this question myself prior to my interview. I read as much as I could on the website and sat through many meetings with colleagues during my first month here. But it was the conversations I had with students at USG that truly shaped my understanding of this unique educational model and made me wish it had existed as an option for me when I graduated from Wootton High School some 17 (!) years ago.
When I learned that part of my job was supervising the USG Student Ambassadors, a group of select students who would help me promote USG to prospective students, I was thrilled! Not only because I would get to learn more about USG from these awesome students myself, but also because now, I knew firsthand how powerful those messages are when they come from individuals actually living it. I can talk about all the great things USG offers (and believe me, I do!), but hearing a student talk about those same things makes a world of difference to someone considering studying here. This is why I always say that I could not do my job even half as well without the Student Ambassadors.
I’d like to think that while the Ambassadors certainly help me out, they are also gaining just as much from being in the program. Through trainings, monthly meetings, campus tours, Open Houses, presentations, student panels, transfer fairs and more, Ambassadors are constantly honing their public speaking, interpersonal communication, marketing, and leadership skills. They may not realize it at the time, but I also watch as they fall more in love with the USG campus as they promote it to others. Ambassadors tend to get involved in other facets of campus as well, from leading student organizations to taking on-campus jobs to attending the myriad of student life events offered. I couldn’t help but feel proud when a second-year Ambassador recently told me that instead of being worried she’d forget the basic facts when giving a tour, she is now worried it will go too long because there are just so many things about USG she wants to share!
Perhaps the most important thing Ambassadors gain from being a part of the program is a sense of community. I love watching as students from different universities, age groups, and backgrounds become friends as a result of wearing the (super stylish!) red polo. When I ask for feedback at the end of each semester, the requests are always the same: More chances to interact as a whole group. Whether they remain in the program for only a semester or for the duration of their time at USG, I adore being allowed to have even a small role in the lives of such amazing students. Supervising the Student Ambassador Program is without a doubt the best part of my job.
*Click here, if you are interested in applying to become a Student Ambassador. The deadline for the fall semester is September 4th.