The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Student life and wellness launches Jaguar Ambassador program

Jolene Des Roches, director of student life and wellness, will launch the Jaguar Ambassador program at the beginning of fall term. Photo by Abby Vega.

Updated, Aug. 23, 2:40 p.m.: Director of Student Life and Wellness Jolene Des Roches said she is in the final stages of interviewing ambassadors candidates. “We should have the finalist to announce next week at Club Rush,” she said.

Original Story: After months of planning, the office of student life and wellness will launch a student ambassador program on Aug. 29. Jolene Des Roches, director of student life and wellness, said the program will begin with two paid student workers to serve as public outreach representatives of Texas A&M-San Antonio.The program gives A&M-San Antonio’s undergraduate students peer support by hiring student liaisons who are knowledgeable about departments and procedures to serve as community outreach members.New and current students who have questions about the University’s three schools — School of Business, School of Education and Kinesiology and School of Arts and Sciences — can rely on ambassadors to give updated information and provide up-to-date resources.Applications for the Jaguar Ambassador program closed July 31. Interviews were scheduled for Aug. 6 through Aug. 10 at Main Campus Building, Des Roches said. She added that she will build the program by two members each semester. The goal is to reach six to 12 positions.The office of student life and wellness will send out an email blast introducing the two Jaguar Ambassadors during the month of August.Upon becoming a Jaguar Ambassador, primary and secondary duties must be met throughout the term, Des Roches said. Ambassadors are required to attend trainings along with regular monthly meetings and represent the University at various recruitment events.In addition, ambassadors will offer tours for prospective students, attend graduation ceremonies and serve as hosts, greeters and ushers on behalf of the office of the president at designated special events.

Eligibility Requirements

Jaguar Ambassador applicants must have a 3.0 GPA and are required to have been a student for at least one semester prior to applying. Applicants must be full-time students and in good academic standing as well as have a clear disciplinary record with the University and commit to a minimum of 40 hours of service per semester.

In addition to being a great opportunity for the members to gain liaison experience, Des Roches said, the ambassadors are classified as student workers and are employed for 19 hours per week at a rate of $7.50 per hour.

Ambassadors in the office of student life and wellness will be provided office space in the campus activities workroom, Room 339 of Main Campus. This workspace will be shared with the Campus Activities Board.

The dedicated office space for students will offer ambassadors the opportunity to plan events and create posters and fliers.

“I’m going to give [the Ambassadors] some freedom to be creative on how they want to notify students to get the word out,” DesRoches said.

Program’s  Origin

Des Roches said that staff within student life and wellness, a program within the department of student affairs, is responsible for spearheading and developing the initiative. DesRoches said the idea started in another department, but now she is leading the effort.

“[The program] initially started about 18 months ago,” Des Roches said. “The project has been passed from person to person and when it finally came to me it was something I really felt passionate about so I just grabbed a hold on to it and I established it within three months.”

The Jaguar Ambassador program is not to be confused with the School of Business Ambassador Program which is unrelated to the program offered by student life and wellness. Although both programs are student focused, the School of Business Ambassador Program is centered on the recruitment of new students. Four informational meetings were held in June.

Ambassador Models

Other public and private universities in Texas use ambassador programs to mentor and encourage future students. The established ambassador program at Rice University, for example, is a volunteer corp supported by university relations.

Similarly, UTSA’s Ambassador Program, established in 1988, began in the admissions department by the department head. The program began with 12 unpaid students whose main goal was to give prospective students tours of the facilities and talk about the story and history of the university.

Today, it functions as a sponsored student organization and consists of 80 unpaid student leaders who serve as student hosts at campus events, university sponsored conferences and community and alumni functions. Ambassadors commit to six hours of service a month. Applications open every January and February. Applicants must have completed a minimum of one semester at UTSA and have a minimum 2.75 GPA, according to the program website.

Dr. Patricia A. Graham, executive director of the special events center and UTSA’s Ambassador Program adviser, has been advisor for the program since 1990. Graham said she relies on student volunteers to create successful outreach programs.

“Members need to be visible when doing services to the university,” she said. “It’s a great marketing technique for other students to see the ambassadors doing good things around the university.”

For more information about A&M-San Antonio’s Jaguar Ambassador program, call Jolene Des Roches at (210) 784-1336.

About the Author

Abby Vega
Abby Vega
As a young child Abigail was captivated by the impact words can have on a person's life. Her interest in reading and writing soon kick started her journey into the field of Journalism. After completing two years at Texas A&M-San Antonio where her passion has been cultivated and fruitful. She has done several internships around the city. In 2013, her first internship was with Univision where she learned how impacting breaking news could be to an entire newsroom. Later that year, she held a spot with Daytime @ Nine on Channel 29. There she realized that not all news has to be corrupt, but there is room for laughter and fun in front of the camera as well. Abby is currently interning with with Tanji Patton where she is putting her social media knowledge to work. She was the recipient to "Best Profile" Award in her Grammar Class with Dr. Lorraine Pulido. She is also serving as a reporter to the Mesquite TAMUSA's online newspaper working with reporters about stories surrounding the University. Abigail plans to pursue a career in writing to share her story and inspire others to follow their dreams.

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