Ambassador program develops leadership skills

By Dale Johnson Posted: January 3, 2017 6:00 a.m.

Meet student ambassadors Marion Idun (l) and Karli Hufnagel.
Meet student ambassadors Marion Idun (l) and Karli Hufnagel. Photo - U of R Photography

The University of Regina's motto is "As One Who Serves" – and that’s what’s behind the ambassador program. It allows students to volunteer and help out with campus events. Ambassadors might help to plan events, set up events, or lead campus tours to make the U of R more welcoming for new students.

Being an ambassador can help develop leadership skills, get some experience volunteering, enhance public speaking and communications skills, and provide networking opportunities.

Let’s meet two of the ambassador leaders: Karli Hufnagel, a second-year education student, and Marion Idun, a third-year business administration student.

Why did you decide to get involved in the U of R ambassador program?

Karli: The ambassador program was something I knew I wanted to be a part of from the moment I found out about it when I attended the open house during my grade 12 year. I love being involved on campus and saw this as a really great opportunity not only to contribute to the university, but also to meet tons of super cool people.

Marion: I decided to get involved in the program so that I could easily adapt to the university way of life, make friends and help new students transition into university.

How long have you been involved?

Marion: I have been involved in the program since my first year as a junior ambassador and two years as a leader.

Karli: This is my second year in the program. I joined the program in September of 2015 as a junior ambassador and decided I wanted to be more involved in the program so I joined the ambassador leader team for the 2016/2017 school year.

What sorts of things have you done as an ambassador?

Karli: I have done a wide variety of events on campus from small events such as working banquets for student-run clubs and running carnival games, to our larger events such as residence move-in, orientation and my favourite event – the open house where I lead tours and help answer students’ questions. One of the best things about the program is all the different options there are for volunteering. It's definitely a great way to get involved with events you might not have gone to otherwise.

Marion: I have given campus tours to both new and current students, helped a couple of first-year students and parents locate services on campus, and helped out at orientation, which included serving food, leading groups of 20+ students and creating conversation with new students.

What are some of the most frequently asked questions you have been asked?

Marion: Oh hey, can you take me back to where we began the tour? What program are you in and how did you become an ambassador? Where can I have my student ID photo taken? Where's the bookstore? Where's the washroom? I'm looking for the Student Union, can you help me? So what time did you have to wake up?

Karli: The most frequent questions I get asked usually involve directions. Although we are a small campus, it can still be tricky for new students and parents to find their way to a session, or even find an ATM. I would definitely say I spend 70 per cent of my time giving directions, but it’s such a great feeling to help someone who is lost, and just being able to make them feel more comfortable during a time that can be so overwhelming. I think the most unusual question I got was from a parent during a tour asking if the green was where we held keg. I guess she wanted to ensure her child was going to make some good memories when they weren't busy studying.

How have you benefited and what have you learned by being an ambassador?

Karli: The ambassador program has allowed me to meet a lot of awesome people, make some great connections and really encouraged me to bust out of my shell. I was quite shy in high school, which surprises a lot of people considering how outgoing I am now – and the ambassador program has definitely been a contributing factor.

This year through joining the ambassador leaders I have also learned a lot about what it means to be a leader and ways to improve my leadership skills that will help me in my future career. The ambassador program is such a great and easy way to be involved on campus and I strongly encourage anyone who is interested in helping out on campus or just meeting a group of super friendly people to join.

I can honestly say that joining the program in one of the best decisions I have made during my time at the U of R, and I look forward to my next few years in the program.

Marion: As an ambassador, I have been able to utilize and develop my communication, interpersonal and organizational skills, which are needed in the workforce. In addition, I have made some good friends from the program. You should join the program if you can, because it's a fun way to meet and help other students, develop your skills and make the most out of your time at university.

The ambassador program is looking for energetic, enthusiastic, and committed students who want to volunteer on campus and build their own skill set.  
If you have any questions about the ambassador program please contact Victoria Johnson at ambassadors@uregina.ca or 306-585-4088 or visit the Student Success Centre, Riddell Centre, Room 230.