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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Wooing future Wildcats

    Wooing future Wildcats

    If you’ve ever walked by the steps of Bear Down Gymnasium and seen a lone spirited student singing “”Bear Down, Arizona”” at the top of his lungs, then you’ve seen a little a glimpse into the world of an Arizona Ambassador.

    The ambassadors provide 11 tours of The University of Arizona per week for hundreds of potential students and their families. For their efforts ambassadors receive no personal gain other then the satisfaction of serving their school now that the position is no longer paid.

    “”These students are the recruiters of the university,”” said Scott Kirkessner, campus tours and recruitment programs coordinator and ambassador advisor. “”A lot of times this is somebody’s first contact with the U of A and they have to be ready to answer lots of questions.””

    The Arizona Ambassador program started in 1979 and operated as a club until 2004 when it was converted to a paid job within the Office of Admissions. After four years Kirkessner felt it would best for the organization to return to its club roots and restore the original integrity of the organization. The decision was made in May 2008 to convert the group back into a student club.

    Today there are over 50 students serving as recruiters and representatives of the university to thousands of perspective students that annually tour the UA.

    “”Being asked to represent your university is more of a privilege and an honor then just a simple job,”” Kirkessner said. “”We’re looking for students who are spirited and motivated and who do it do it because they want to.””

    Each tour group can range from a single family up to 150 people and ambassadors are expected to give at least one tour a week.

    “”Recruitment brings in the future of the university,”” said ambassador Lena kyman, a speech, language and hearing sciences senior. “”Picking a college can be such a hard decision. Knowing you have an impact on why people choose the U of A is an awesome feeling.””

    Kyman said one of her goals during a tour is to make the large campus feel more like a small community. She has been an ambassador since she was a freshman and was nominated for Homecoming Queen by the club last fall.

    The Arizona Ambassadors don’t just give campus tours. They also have a program called “”Football Ambassadors”” where they escort football recruits at home games. Another program, “”Class Cats,”” gives incoming freshman an opportunity to shadow real university classes.

    “”I’m glad I can share my experiences at the U of A with people who aren’t sure if it’s right for them,”” said aerospace engineering junior Ted Gatchell.

    Gatchell said he was originally embarrassed to sing “”Bear Down, Arizona”” in front of his tour groups, but he knows that singing can make or break the group’s experience.

    “”After 50 billion times I’m starting to sound decent,””

    he said.

    “”On my first tour I was really freaked out about the singing part,”” communications junior Hilary Scheele said. “”You just make a joke out of it and yourself. They get a kick out of it.””

    Scheele said she enjoys explaining the school history to the tour groups as they walk around campus, and hopes it is something they will take home with them.

    “”There are so many amazing opportunities that make ambassadors fun,”” Scheele said. “”I love everything about Ambassadors.””

    Arizona Ambassadors are kicking off their spring application process today and are looking to add new members through Jan. 30.

    “”We are looking to grow this program significantly,”” Kirkessner said. “”We’re looking for the people who love this university and want to share with their experience with anyone who is there to listen.””

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