NORFOLK — Many students have important roles on campus, some of them are the student ambassadors. These ambassadors help bring future hawks to Northeast Community College.
There is more to being a student ambassador than most people realize. Not only does the group of 10 to 12 students give tours around campus, they also host and participate in campus activities and reach out to potential students. “My favorite part about being a student ambassador is learning how to work and communicate with all different kinds of people that I meet while giving the tours,” secretary of student ambassadors Briella Jones said. Giving tours to different types of people makes for interesting memories. “My most memorable moments are from the difficult people that I have to deal with, those are the ones that I remember the most. The people that ask me the hard questions,” Jones said.
Doing this job helps president of student ambassadors Claire Wiegert participate in something that meets her interests. “I like the responsibility, I like being involved on campus and knowing people. I enjoy being a part of Northeast,” Wiegert said. This obligation came abruptly to Wiegert. “I didn’t expect having such a huge responsibility. I didn’t expect having to commit 110%, but I am glad I did,” she said.
Satisfying all wants and needs of visitors is impossible, but the student ambassadors stay true to Northeast and all the college has to offer. “I try to give them an honest view of the college. I tell them the truth and I do believe that it is a good college so that is easy to do,” Jones said. The tour takes visitors all around campus and provides information about buildings and the history of the college. They show all the major buildings on campus, the College Welcome Center, the Cox Activities Center, the dorms, Ag and Allied Health and the Student Center. “We don’t really exclude anything on purpose we might just have a time crunch and not go through a building, but if they ask then we show them,” Wiegert said.
Being an ambassador has its challenges. “The most challenging part about tours is dealing with people that are rude or mean. Some people don’t know how to communicate very well with you and you have to learn how to be polite and professional around them,” Jones said. Being polite and professional does not always come easy. “You have to hold your tongue, you have to grow up and be responsible because you are an employee of Northeast so you are held to that standard. That is a big jump from being a high school kid to being an advocate and voice of Northeast,” Wiegert said.
Another obstacle is following a time schedule. “Something I didn’t expect while being a student ambassador is all the on the fly problem solving that we have to do. We have to make it here at a certain time then make it to the next appointment, but maybe they want to see something else so it is a lot of problem solving,” Jones said.
Advice Wiegert gives to students interested in becoming an ambassador is, “don’t knock it till you try it. It sounds lame or hard having to talk to people on the fly and meeting people that morning and being with them for two hours, but it is really fun. You don’t have to be a complete social butterfly to do it, it can really bring you out of your shell,” Wiegert said.
Going into college Jones did not expect to become a student ambassador. “The process was a little different for me becoming a student ambassador because I joined half way through my freshman year. I was very involved in athletics and clubs in high school. When I got to college I felt bored and like I was wasting my time, so my advisor recommended I join a club. Then I talked to Ashley Hoffman the advisor of student ambassadors and that is how I got involved,” Jones said.
Wiegert had a different beginning to becoming an ambassador than Jones had. “My senior year of high school I went on a tour here at Northeast and my tour guide said ‘you seem like a great person that could do this. You communicate well and you are not shy’. He threw that idea out for me and as that year went on, I thought about it a little bit more and I applied not really knowing if I wanted to or not. Then Ashley reached out to me, set up an interview and after talking to her I knew it was something I wanted to do so I got hired with her,” Wiegert said.