Chico State newsletter celebrating campus diversity fall 2012

Ambassador Program Gets Upgrade: Hopes to Further Promote Diversity

By: Shelby Hudak
student ambassadors

The first Wildcat Ambassadors involved with the newly created ambassador program. These 11 students are dedicated to helping Chico State encompass a more diverse population.

The Chico State Wildcat Ambassador Program continues its strong efforts this semester to bring diversity to Chico State while also adjusting to the reinvention of the program. Building a diverse applicant pool continues to be one of the objectives at the Office of Admissions. The University values recruiting students from various backgrounds and viewpoints. Diversity doesn’t just include ethnicity, but also students of academic diversity and who demonstrate a variety of experiences.

“Specifically, the ambassador program was created so that we could use diverse students to recruit more diverse students,” said Teresita Curiel, assistant director for the Admissions and Outreach Program. New opportunities and providing more resources to students is what drove the reinvention of the program. Fall 2012 is the first semester the newly created program is in effect, and it has already grown to 11 individual ambassadors. Curiel hopes that it continues to grow.

“We wanted to give the ambassador program a try in a different format,” she said. “We wanted to add some formalization. The reinvented program is now considered an internship. Students are required to sign up for the class UNIV 390, and they receive one unit of credit.

“Wildcat ambassadors are nominated by faculty and selected to represent the breadth of the Chico student experience,” said Curiel. One of their primary responsibilities as ambassadors is to encourage prospective college students to apply to Chico State. Another goal is simply to convey the importance of higher education to high school students throughout California.

Rosana Chavolla-Hernandez is a sophomore at Chico State nominated to be an ambassador from the Equal Opportunity Program.
Admission counselors train the ambassadors and give them a working knowledge of requirements to apply to Chico State so they can relay that information to prospective students.

“Being involved in the University and seeing different aspects of it is very beneficial,” said Wildcat ambassador Cindy Melendrez. The ambassador program is twofold, benefiting both the admissions office and the students involved.

“I’m learning as I go, and it’s pretty cool to learn things that I myself didn’t know about Chico State,” said Wildcat ambassador Rosana Chavolla-Hernandez. Ambassadors visit an average of three local and nonlocal high schools every semester. They are required to visit their hometown high school and advocate on behalf of Chico State at least once during the semester.

“Back home, there is a real lack of motivation for students to go to college, so I feel this is a really good experience for me, to work with students in my own community,” said Chavolla-Hernandez. The ambassadors are encouraged to communicate their own stories when they present to schools.

“It is really important to us to keep authenticity in their voice,” said Curiel. “We’re not going to tell them what to say, because they have their own experience.”

The Wildcat Ambassador Program is one of the best ways to recruit potential students and help increase diversity at Chico State, said Curiel. “The student-to-student conversation is so powerful as far as generating interest about the campus and all the wonderful things that happen here,” she said.

Building a diverse population is an important goal Chico State holds each semester. The Wildcat ambassadors greatly contribute to maintaining this goal. All students who think that they can effectively communicate their Chico student experience to others are encouraged to contact the Office of Admissions or visit their website at http://www.csuchico.edu/admissions/