Being a part of the Reynolds Ambassadors program has been a great experience. I have met a lot of people and experienced many new things and it is only September. When the program started in May, none of us really knew what we were getting into as we sat around the table filling out paperwork. Before we knew it, we were doing training for S.O.A.R. which is a program that freshmen attend where we help them find their way around campus and schedule classes. For four weeks, we were practicing leading tours at the Downtown and Parham Road campuses. We also held rehearsal for our skit about values at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College.
On the first day of student orientation, there we were seven of us standing tall—Zack, Phoebe, Carolyn, Angela, Cheri, Moe and I. We all came together for one purpose—to prepare first year students for their first semester, making sure that each student left with all their questions answered. Because of the anticipated volume of freshmen, we had help from members of Student Council.
Our first S.O.A.R. started at the Parham Road Campus. Everyone had to report to campus by 7:30 a.m. We all gathered around the front of Georgiadis Hall to greet the students and their parents as they arrived. All of all sudden, people started swarming into the building from left and right. For about an hour, everyone was either helping students with their user names and passwords, checking people in or directing students to the different display options we had available. After an hour of doing that, we gathered the students and parents into the auditorium. Then Dean of Students Dr. Brian Richardson did his opening speech to warm up the crowd for us. This took about 10 minutes and we became very fond of his wrap up side joke to finish his speech.
“The people you see here wearing those shirts represent student leaders at our college and they are here to help you. Now I have a question. Are those shirts forest green or are they hunter green? If you can come up with the right answer you will win a prize.”
(I still do not know the answer to that question about the color of our Ambassadors' shirts.)
After Dr. Richardson’s speech, each of us went to the stage and introduced ourselves and told everyone our majors. Next, we did our little skit, that I’m proud to say got a big applause. After the skit, we dismissed for tours and the Jeopardy game. The game taught the students about some of the policies and procedures that are in place at J. Sargeant Reynolds. Sometimes the game got really intense as everyone was going neck and neck, trying to raise their hands first. In the end, they all were winners and each student was given a free flash drive. After the Jeopardy game, the ambassadors presented a 30 minute tour of the Parham Road Campus. When we did tours at the Downtown Campus we were given the same amount of time. It was easier and faster to do the tours Downtown because we were not hot and we had access to elevators and steps. The Parham tours required a lot of walking outside and it was very hot.
After the tours and the jeopardy game, the new students went to advising and registration. The students were separated by major and were sent to different locations to get started. This process took a couple of hours because each student’s schedule had to be setup to start them on the path to success.
At the conclusion of the S.O.A.R. session, we came together to discuss how the day went. We laughed at how some of the crazy parents would try to sneak out of their own sessions in the auditorium and go to their child’s sessions to see which classes they were registering for. S.O.A.R. officially ended two weeks before school started.
During the first week of school, we were helping students find their classes and print class schedules. We also had a Back to School Fair, where we helped served popcorn, pizza, drinks, and free school supplies. This really wrapped up the summer session of my Ambassador experience. I can’t wait to see what is in store for the rest of the academic year.