With a red pullover, a smile and a group of perspective students following him, Connor Sams leads a tour across campus. This is not a hobby he picked up: it’s the job of a student ambassador.
“If you really want to promote Northwestern and have an impact on people’s lives, it’s [a job that is] really rewarding,” Sams said.
The job has three main parts: giving tours of campus, eating lunch with prospective students and hosting them overnight. Student ambassadors can have any combination of the three per week.
“It’s all built around your schedule,” Sams said. “There’s never a normal day. You’ll have days where it is just you and one student, and you’ll have days where there are five students with two parents each.”
Beth Benschoter is another student ambassador on campus, and she has dealt with many scenarios as well.
“I would say you primarily meet with students who are looking to go to NW and you get to talk about your college experience and tell them the things that you love about campus,” Benschoter said. “It’s a lot more about sharing your personal experience with NW.”
Sams and Benschoter said they thoroughly enjoy the job and that one of the most exciting parts about it is how different every prospective student is.
“Everybody is very different,” Sams said. “A lot of people have different majors, but the cool thing is we all love NW. That’s what kind of connects people.”
Sams said his favorite part of the job is the connections he gets to make with people. He loves getting to see students he gave a tour to the year before show up on campus the next year.
“I think I built a lot of new friendships,” Sams said. “I’ve been able to impact people, and I’ve really enjoyed doing that, and that fulfills me in my life, which is the best thing for my college experience.”
Benschoter also said it has benefitted her own experience at NW.
“I definitely think it has allowed me to reflect on the ways NW has benefitted me because I am constantly sharing that with people,” Benschoter said.
Sams loves being able to promote NW just like Benschoter does, and he sees every tour, lunch date or overnight stay as an opportunity to help the college that he loves and to make new friends.
“Being an ambassador is being able to connect the school with prospective students by showing them NW through the eyes of someone who goes here,” Sams said. “It’s almost like being a friend to someone who has never been here.”
However, the job of a student ambassador does not just benefit the prospective students. Both said the job has taught them valuable lessons.
“[The job has taught me] to be very present with each person because you never really know what impact you have on their experience,” Benschoter said.
Sams has learned something as well.
“I think the best lesson is to be always open to all people,” Sams said. “You have to be open to whatever experiences they have had. It makes me more well-rounded.”
Benschoter and Sams both recommend this job to other students.
“I recommend it to people who love NW and are not afraid to be themselves,” Sams said. “It ends up being such a rewarding and fun experience.”
Benschoter has one last piece of advice.
“It’s always good when you seeing someone giving a tour to say hi because people notice other students on campus being friendly,” she said.