The Northwestern Ambassadors can easily be recognized by their red fleece sweaters and smiling faces as they walk around campus pointing at things. More than just smiling faces, the Ambassadors provide a valuable service to NW.
Their main job is to give tours of the campus to perspective students and to host those students overnight. Their responsibilities also involve phoning high school seniors in the fall and juniors in the spring to ask them whether they might consider checking out NW, and checking up on students who have been accepted to NW to see if they’re still planning on coming.
When asked about the joys of the job the resounding answer from the Ambassadors is meeting prospective students. “It’s really great to meet new people,” said junior Ambassador Matt Austin. “I’ve made some friends that I still talk to even though they’re not at NW anymore.”
Senior Sara Dekker, who is in her second year as an Ambassador, was excited to see the fruits of her labor when three of the girls that she housed last year were on her wing this year. “I like that I get to meet prospectives before they come,” said Dekker. “I really enjoy talking to them about high school and about what life is like at NW.”
Sophomore Ashley Adams also enjoys meeting prospective students but added that working with the admissions staff is also a blessing. “The leadership is very caring and friendly . . . I also have to mention that Harold Hoftyzer’s wife makes the best cookies ever,” she said.
Along with the benefits of being an Ambassador, there are also a few challenges. One of the things that Austin sees as a frustration is the unresponsiveness of prospectives at times. “Sometimes parents just drag the kids along with them for a visit to campus and you can tell the kids don’t really want to be here,” said Austin.
Another big challenge for the Ambassadors is the phone calls. “It’s a challenge finding ways to connect to people on the phone,” said Dekker. Sophomore Ashley Adams agrees that the phone calls are tough because “sometimes people aren’t talkative enough on the phone.”
Senior Jeannine Lovas, who has served as an ambassador for three years, speaks of the leadership experience she has gained, despite the challenges. “It’s the kind of experience that helps you learn how to think on your feet, relate to all kinds of people, and allows you to share the NW story with others.”
For those interested in becoming an Ambassador, applications are available at the admissions office and includes a recommendation to be filled out by a member of NW faculty or staff. A short interview is also conducted. Applications are due on Friday, Feb. 20.