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Students Become Ambassadors

Posted on Thursday August 15th 2013

What do drum circles, a campus newspaper, orientation video, and tertulia have in common? All are projects proposed by GCC’s new Student Ambassadors to fill a need on campus. Student Ambassadors represent GCC at admission, orientation, presidential, and alumni events. The ten GCC Student Ambassadors were chosen from applicants last winter and prepared for their new roles in a free one-credit course (HUD 131) that focuses on leadership and knowledge of GCC (history, student services, resources, and processes). The course is co-taught by Special Programs Coordinator Shannon Coskran and Senior Admissions Counselor Mark Hudgik, both Student Affairs professional staff members with knowledge and experience in student leadership and development.

The first group of Student Ambassadors include Earl “Tony” Cruz, Cynthia Curtis, Emily Eaton, Anthony Geryk, Kelandra Hurd, Jasper Kearsley, Kia Burton McLaughlin, Summer Murray, Misael Ramos, and Ashley Sears. For their final course projects, the Student Ambassadors were asked to identify an unmet need at GCC and propose a way to meet that need. Tony Cruz’s project identified steps a GCC student can take to create a GCC-sanctioned event. He used those steps to plan GCC’s first tertulia for Monday, September 9. Tertulias are a Latin American and Spanish form of literary social gatherings where writers share their creations with each other. Tony Geryk saw the need for students to feel empowered and build community bonds and proposed regular peer-driven drum circles as a way to meet that need. Kelandra Hurd realized that GCC does not have a campus newspaper and proposed a journalism club that could produce such a newspaper. Misael Ramos knows prospective GCC students need to see GCC students who can serve as examples of someone like themselves who is successful as a student at GCC. Misael proposed a “GCC Welcomes YOU” video that could be used as part of New Student Orientation and recruitment. Ashley Sears recognized that most students are unaware of the new Student Ambassador program. She proposed ways to promote the program, including providing information tables on campus and an Ambassador page on the GCC Website.

Mark Hudgik said, “All of the talents students bring to GCC are valued. Leadership comes in many forms, not just being the big shining star in front of a group of people. In the Ambassador program, students discover what leadership means to them, and how they can use that form of leadership and apply it to their lives at GCC, at home, and at work. We encourage students to talk with us about how the Ambassador program might fit their interests and skills. Involvement in the Ambassador program is a great way to strengthen resumes and applications to other colleges.”

Shannon Coskran said, “This program is really about students helping students and students helping our community. I am in awe of the ways in which the students in the first Ambassador course see themselves serving the College.”

Along with the more obvious tour guiding or speaking about the College, Student Ambassadors take on many roles on campus. Kelandra wrote a letter to prospective students, offering a student voice. Ambassadors help behind the scenes for events such as the Student Success Series. They also recruit other Ambassadors and provide a student presence at events with alumni, visitors, and other campus guests.

The Student Ambassador Course (HUD 131) is offered this fall. Interested students can contact  Shannon (775-1336; coskrans@gcc.mass.edu) or Mark (775-1810; hudgikm@gcc.mass.edu) for information and an application.

Meet Some of GCC’s Student Ambassadors

Cynthia (Cindi) Curtis

Major: Liberal Arts/Health Science

Expected GCC graduation: 2014

Age: 55

Lives in: Greenfield

Message to GCC students considering applying to be a Student Ambassador: Take every advantage you can to get to know more about your school, its people, and what it offers to all students. We have several workshops throughout the year and you can learn a lot by attending them. Also, you can suggest them to others that you know will benefit. Help yourself and others, too. Teamwork!

* * *

Anthony Geryk

Major: Changing majors from Renewable Energy to Computer Information Systems

Expected GCC graduation: 2014

Age: 56

Lives in: Greenfield

Message to GCC students considering applying to be a Student Ambassador: It’s not only about learning how to represent GCC; it is a great way to learn about how GCC is structured and where to find beneficial resources. It is about learning how to reach your own goals by reaching out to the proper resources. The Student Ambassadors program builds confidence and leadership skills enabling you to become more creative and responsive to new ideas as well as help others learn how to become leaders themselves. I believe this program will help promote community bonding that can lead to true democracy.

* * *

Kelandra Hurd

Major: Liberal Arts

Expected GCC graduation: 2014

Age: 17

Message to GCC students considering applying to be a Student Ambassador: Apply to be a Student Ambassador, especially if you don’t see yourself as a leader. Before becoming an Ambassador, I didn’t really see myself as a leader because the only definition I had of the word “leader” did not fit how I presented myself. I think our definition of leadership needs to be redefined to include quiet people, because even quiet people have something to say and sometimes they make the most important contributions. I think many students will look at this program as being for people who are “better” than them in some way when really this program is all about building connections and a better community by shining light on the average student voice.

* * *

Kia Burton McLaughlin

Major: Liberal Arts

Expected GCC graduation: 2014

Age: 27

Message to GCC students considering applying to be a Student Ambassador: GCC faculty and staff provide lots of support to new and prospective students, BUT nothing beats a group of diverse and currently enrolled students saying, “I was scared, too” and sharing experiences about the resources on campus. As a new student orientation leader, I’ve had students tell me, “things you shared about yourself during orientation, made me feel like I CAN DO THIS!” At orientation and as an Ambassador, I share and celebrate being a non-traditional aged student – who has attempted college several times, being a student parent, and NOT BEING TOO COOL FOR PEER TUTORING and the MATH STUDIO!

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Mary McClintock, ’82


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