By Mo Juenger | Staff Writer
The job of student ambassador is often synonymous with that of a tour guide, but they additionally file paperwork and send out information to prospective and admitted students. As tour guides, they show prospective students and their families Xavier’s campus.
First-year Philosophy, Politics, and the Public (PPP) major Sophia Gentile has been a student ambassador with the Office of Admissions for two weeks now, and she is excited about the opportunities this job brings.
“I love this job because it allows me to meet more people… Everyone is super nice and willing to help. They’re very genuine,” Gentile said regarding the incoming students she give tours to and the upperclassmen with whom she works.
This position is one of many that Xavier offers as work-study positions. Gentile discovered this opportunity at the Work-Study Job Fair held at the beginning of the semester.
Training for the student ambassador position is somewhat more rigorous than that of other on-campus jobs. New student workers shadow tours given by experienced tour guides, then give their own mock tour to a group of their peers before beginning tours for families. They must also pass a written exam on statistics regarding Xavier.
“I had to do three shadow tours and a mock tour, which is when you give your version of the tour to other student ambassadors and tour guides. That’s just to make sure you have all your information right, all the basics on how to give a tour: face towards the family, walk backwards, speak loud, all that,” Gentile said.
Student workers in the Office of Admissions rely not only on their knowledge of campus, but also on personability and self-expression.
Student ambassadors are required to incorporate personal experiences and advice into their tours, something Gentile has found more difficult than others might. “I’ve only been on campus for about a month, so I haven’t had as many campus experiences as some upperclassmen,” she said.
Gentile also said that having an on-campus job as a first-year student can be challenging this early in the semester. “It was definitely a big transition to all these college classes,” she said, “and then with this job you also have to learn so many statistics and facts about places on the campus that I’ve only been on for a week.”
A more experienced student ambassador, sophomore computer science major Marina Salazar, reflects on her time as a tour guide.
“I love Xavier, and I like representing Xavier in the best way I possibly can,” she said. “Xavier has a big heart and a lot to offer, and being a tour guide allows me to express that and show that community to prospective students.”
A perspective shared by both Gentile and Salazar is this job’s ability to help students branch out of their comfort zone. “I am naturally introverted and I don’t like being outgoing,” Salazar remarks, “but being a tour guide has helped me be more social, out-going, and has taught me how to speak in public and engage with people from different backgrounds.”
The Office of Admissions is located in Schott Hall, and is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Student ambassadors can be seen walking around campus with groups of students throughout the week.