Providing a helping hand

Online chats and welcome calls aim to answer incoming student’s concerns


Photo by Courtney Roszak

Campus Ambassadors Amber Hargesheimer and Alex Brault contact prospective students through online chats and phone calls to answer any questions they may have.

It is the norm on campus to see multiple students walking around wearing blue and gold striped rugby shirts. Those threads they are part of the Campus Ambassadors.

They are easy to identify, partially because they lead campus tours for prospective UW-Eau Claire students. However, the Campus Ambassadors do much more than just give tours.

When the ambassadors are not giving tours they are busy helping prospective students through online chats or calling students to congratulate them on their acceptance and ask if they have any questions.

“It’s a lot of prospective student work,” said Amber Hargesheimer, an organizational communication major and third year ambassador. “Before students are admitted, we do online chats .. where they can ask questions, and it is not as scary as face to face.”

Hargesheimer noted the online chats have yielded good questions such as, “Can I bring my pet turtle?”

When not speaking with prospective students, members of the organization are also a part of Momentum Mondays, which started last year. With Student Senate, a few volunteers are out at the bottom of the hill before 8 a.m. classes Monday mornings to welcome and high five students as they head to class.  

In addition, ambassadors volunteer to help at graduation in May and December. They will also travel to college fairs, both in Wisconsin and Minnesota, to promote Eau Claire to other schools and learn about ways to improve the university.

The application process to be a campus ambassador is lengthy and competitive, Hargesheimer said. Co-adviser Andrew Arends went through the process when he was an Eau Claire student, before graduating in 2010. On average the organization will send out 300-400 nominations to students annually in the spring. Of those, about 100 students will apply. Every student who applies will get an interview, and depending on the year anywhere from 20-40 students will get a congratulatory email welcoming them as an ambassador. There are usually 70 ambassadors total on campus, with about five students studying abroad.

“Ambassadors generally need to be nominated by someone on campus, whether it is a current ambassador, one of the advisors or any faculty members,” Arends, other title, said. “Anybody they have noticed being a stand up individual, involved on campus and really positive about the university.”

Arends said the application process is lengthy and in-depth to ensure the ambassadors are students who love the university, are very involved on campus and would be passionate about the organization.

A goal the advisers have toward application time is to find a variety of different qualities within ambassadors. They try to find students with different majors, years in school, favorite parts of the campus, interests and involvement in other organizations on campus. They aim to find students who have remained just as in love with the campus as they were when they first arrived as freshmen.

“Its one of the most passionate organizations for UW-Eau Claire,” Hargesheimer said. “I love getting new prospective students to come to Eau Claire because I have had so many amazing memories and time at Eau Claire.”