By Ryan Vanderhei
The Presidential Ambassadors are a volunteer, student run organization whose primary mission is to connect students with KU alumni, staff and faculty. The Presidential Ambassadors stand out as a prestigious organization featuring a network of talented people working together toward a common goal: to unite the KU community.
The Presidential Ambassadors offer a diverse representation of campus consisting of students from all different age groups and majors. No matter your class year, major or interests, you can be a suitable fit for the organization. The Ambassadors work together with one another in conjunction with alumni and staff to enhance KU pride and keep up traditions on campus, all while starting new ones in the process.
Being named a Presidential Ambassador is worthy of praise. Members work directly with the president’s office and represent the student body at presidential functions such as the Inauguration.
Holding this title means that you are willing to represent the school and its students at many events.
Mary Neuenschwander, organization advisor, said that the Ambassadors are involved in more than 50 events this semester alone. Some of those events include Lady’s tea, breakfasts with Santa and Avalanche and walks with Wynnie.
Walks with Wynnie is where students and faculty join President Hawkinson as he walks his dog, Wynnie, around the campus, creating a personal connection between the president and members of the KU community.
One of the most popular events put on by the Ambassadors is the spring dinner with Golden Bears that allows students to sit down and enjoy a meal with alumni from their major areas and discuss their area of interest. This is just one of the many ways that the Presidential Ambassadors provide useful avenues for students to make connections with alumni and receive valuable information about their prospective field.
The Ambassadors do much more than just hold events. Some of their other duties include being commencement ceremony flag bearers, participating in instrumental roles during homecoming and hosting many different fundraisers and competitions to benefit the student body. Their major fundraiser, the Tuition sweepstakes, is held each fall semester and awards one free semester of in-state tuition to one lucky participant.
Kayla Fusselman, organization president, said one of their fun competitions aimed at giving back to the community is the “Cub Cab.” Students are picked up in a golf cart and escorted across campus to their classes. Along the way, they are asked history questions about the university and gift cards are awarded to winners.
Any student at KU who has 3 active semesters remaining is essentially eligible to become a member of the Presidential Ambassadors. The only requirements to become a member include maintaining higher than a 2.75 GPA, being at least 18 years of age and completing an application.
The application includes two essay questions and two recommendations. Upon completion, the executive board reviews the applications and conducts interviews with applicants to ensure that the student would be a valuable benefit to the organization.
The benefits that come with being a part of the Presidential Ambassadors at KU are nearly endless. You create valuable relationships and connections with faculty members and alumni, participate in dozens of events and volunteer to create a fun and constructive environment for students. Members also have the opportunity of attending the national conference held each year.
“The Ambassadors grow tremendous leadership and communication skills while working so closely with faculty and alumni over their time as members,” said Neuenschwander, who encourages students to get involved. The Presidential Ambassadors play a pivotal role in not only bridging the gap between KU students and alumni, but also creating the most beneficial learning environment for everyone. Members
strive to build philanthropy and enhance the experience of every affiliate of the municipal. They volunteer day in and day out to build a stronger community here at KU.