By Ethan Nichols, World News Editor
The Student Government Association (SGA), in consultation with the Eigel Center for Community Engaged Learning, is launching a new student Community Ambassador position.
The student selected for the position will work with the neighborhoods surrounding Xavier and serve as a point of contact for residents and community leaders. The Community Ambassador will also coordinate community-building initiatives throughout the year designed to increase communication and collaboration between Xavier and its surrounding communities.
SGA President Annaleese Cahill believes this program will continue ongoing work to pop the “Xavier bubble,” a term used to describe Xavier’s closeness to the communities surrounding it.
“While there is often consensus that Xavier exists within this ‘bubble,’ there is a misconception that Xavier has done nothing to build relationships with surrounding communities,” Cahill said. “The Community Ambassador Position is yet another step to improve these relationships from years prior by engaging more students in local government, neighborhood relationships and community building.”
Director of the Eigel Center for Community Engaged Learning Sean Rhiney noted that these preexisting relationships will help facilitate the ambassador’s work with off-campus institutions.
“The students will benefit from our existing connectivity with community leadership in nonprofit, neighborhood and civic spaces in Norwood, as well as training to support their successful engagement and planning,” Rhiney said.
“I think of this more as student-led relationship building – connecting with the assets that comprise our off campus communities, fostering positive and productive communication and growing opportunities for our students to know their neighbors better and vice versa,” he added.
The ambassador won’t only focus on connecting with leaders off campus, though. Rhiney hopes that the Community Ambassador can help promote inclusive community-building efforts through collaboration with faculty, other students and the community at large.
“Unequivocally, one of the ambassador’s charges is to engage their classmates with external communities to build community,” Rhiney said.
A large focus of the ambassadorship will be placed on interacting with Xavier students to ensure they interact positively with surrounding communities. Part of the role is to “encourage off-campus students to make positive contributions in the community and discuss and reflect on their role as a community leader and member,” according to the application form.
Cahill described the Eigel Center as a crucial partner, noting that SGA is excited to launch this opportunity soon.
“The Eigel Center is instrumental to Xavier’s community relationships, particularly with Evanston and Norwood. Using the resources and expertise of the Eigel Center is going to be crucial to the success of the position in its first year,” Cahill said.
“The Center is a primary resource for advancing and coordinating institutional resources that support community-engagement for all students,” Rhiney said. “The Ambassador represents one of our best assets — our students — and I’m looking forward to supporting their success and professional growth.”
“The Ambassador position is an important opportunity… and I wanted to fully support its institutionalization and success. I’m grateful that SGA has advanced this opportunity and we’ll have a chance to support and guide the Ambassador’s work,” he added.
SGA and the Eigel Center will jointly search for candidates and select the future ambassador. The selected student will receive a leadership grant as compensation, funded by SGA, and is expected to work a minimum of five hours per week on program-related activities. The Community Ambassador will report to Rhiney.
SGA and Rhiney hope to begin interviews for the position in September, and students will be able to apply for the position soon on the SGA website.