Student ambassadors link to community

Last spring, faculty and staff nominated over 150 students as potential student ambassadors. Of the 150 students, 45 were interviewed, and only 12 of those 45 students were chosen to represent PSU through the Student Ambassador Program.

These students were chosen based on their academic brilliance, strong leadership skills and dedication to PSU and the community.

One of their duties is to conduct campus tours. Ambassadors spend at least one hour each week guiding prospective students, faculty and even nostalgic alumni across campus.

To be ready to answer any question prospective students may have, ambassadors regularly gather news from academic departments. They also meet for two hours every week to share their discoveries.

“These are some of the best-informed students on campus,” Michele Toppe said.

Toppe, student advisor for the program, said the ambassadors even become references to fellow students.

“Students ask them questions like where the financial aid center is, (or where) Student Development is.”

Ambassadors may serve as walking dictionaries to some students, but Christine Moua, one of this year’s ambassadors, sees another advantage to being informed on campus life.

“The more involved I am on campus, the greater I do academically,” she said. “If you were to see my grades my freshman year when I wasn’t involved, you would see the difference.”

Toppe noticed other ambassadors follow the same trend. On average, she said, the G.P.A. of the entire group has always risen. Toppe’s explanation is that ambassadors take inspiration from each other to improve academically.

“Ambassador students see each other doing well, and it’s contageous,” she said.

Moua recognizes the impact her environment is having on her.

“The people I’m working with are all very focused,” she said. “I like that crowd because it motivates me to do well in school and to have a social life.”

On top of giving tours and gathering and dispersing campus information, ambassadors also spend much of their time as hosts and hostesses to official functions and VIP events. Hosting at events demands excellent social skills and self-confidence.