The UNC Asheville University Ambassador Program is designed to help special groups, prospective students and their families become familiar with the campus and the atmosphere of UNCA. Current students lead tours and answer questions about the school and campus life. Visitors get “real” answers to their questions instead of “canned” responses from administrators. This encourages prospective students to ask questions and talk about subjects they might not otherwise feel comfortable with. As current students, Ambassadors have knowledge and experience that pertain to prospective students interests.
The ideal Ambassador is a student who, first and foremost, is enthusiastic about UNCA. They enjoy meeting new people and facing new challenges. They look forward to the unexpected and love keeping up with the ever-changing university. Ambassadors are usually committed and involved in the livelihood of the campus, participating in other on-campus activities and organizations. Lastly, they are outgoing and comfortable speaking to a wide-range of people and in front of large groups.
Campus tours are an integral part of the campus visit program here in the Office of Admissions. In addition to daily scheduled tours for prospective students and their families, special groups also visit the campus throughout the year. Elementary, middle, and high school students, students at risk, college prep students, and many others compose the majority of our group tours. Ambassadors are welcoming to all special groups and help answer questions specific to a group’s interests and situations, which vary greatly.
Another important part of being a University Ambassador is hosting overnight guests in the Spring. This experience can be very helpful to a prospective student who is trying to decide on a college. It can also be rewarding and enjoyable for the host, giving the Ambassador an opportunity to demonstrate what campus life is really like. It is a chance to show off the highlights of UNCA. Overnight hosting is an option only for students who live in the residence halls.
University Ambassadors also have the opportunity to participate in special campus events at the request of the chancellor or other members of the UNCA community. Chancellor’s luncheons, fund-raising events, installations and commencements, Open Houses, and many other events give Ambassadors a chance to meet and possibly network with UNCA alumni or influential members of the campus community.
To help new Ambassadors effectively meet challenges and responsibilities, they attend a training session at the beginning of the semester and work with several experienced Ambassadors during the first few actual tours. Once they are comfortable with giving tours, a new Ambassador can start giving tours solo. Most of the time, they are ready to train newcomers at the beginning of the next school year. Both the Campus Visit Coordinator and the Student Ambassador Directors keep all Ambassadors informed and connected throughout the year (usually by e-mail) regarding any changes that occur in any aspect of the university community.
Ambassadors also have the chance to meet together socially. There is typically a retreat once a semester, allowing for the group to bond, have fun, and learn about any changes that have taken place at UNCA. We also hold occasional socials to give the Ambassadors a chance to hang out and relax together.