“YU LOVE” is the name of Yeungnam University’s student ambassador program and they have many important duties. They do promotional work that deals with university life at exhibitions and various events hosted by the university. They serve as guides for middle and high school students who visit campus. They also work as models and reporters in informational and promotional brochures for YU. Student ambassadors are recruited during the second semester every year. New members are usually recruited around campus and through advertisements during the first to second week of September. Applicants are selected through a document screening process and interviews. About ten students are selected every year and they are all freshmen and sophomores. Male students can apply after being discharged from the army. They receive uniforms and promote scholarships each semester after they finish a probation period. Student ambassadors can receive aid if they take classes at the International Center or Institute of Information & Computing Systems.
Looking into their work
Student ambassadors go through a probation period for one semester, and they can serve until the first semester of their senior year. They have meetings related to their work at the student public relations office located on the 4th floor of the Main Administration Building. From March to May, they usually work on activities that introduce YU and provide guide services like bus tours. Bus tours are for visitors and middle school and high school students.
In April, the month of the cherry blossom festival, they operate the YU LOVE booth to promote YU. They also run attractions like a face painting booth. In July and August during summer vacation, they organize an entrance briefing session for students on nonscheduled admission. In September, they recruit and train new members. Between November and December, they run an entrance briefing session for regular admission. In the traditional way, our university student ambassadors visit high schools, but this will change so high school students will visit our campus exclusively. A workshop is held every semester to report and evaluate on activities of the previous semester. In addition, student ambassadors work at almost all public events at the university like official ceremonies.
Practice makes perfect
The student ambassadors have a practice period before all of their activities because they have important responsibilities to promote our university. A lecture room is reserved for one week for practice. Comments are written down for each presentation before the real event, and they strive to make their practice sessions as realistic as possible. Senior members observe junior members’ practice and provide feedback. The rehearsal sessions cover all of their areas of responsibility including bus tours and the entrance briefing sessions. These days, the number of visitors to the YU blog has increased after every entrance briefing session. The ambassadors also answer questions asked by high school students through on-line activities.
Entrance briefing sessions
At YU, student ambassadors run entrance briefing sessions, but they are called student assistants at other universities. This is because our student ambassadors are responsible for all aspects of the entrance briefing session from start to finish. Other universities utilize staff members from their public relations office to conduct their orientation programs. Orientations that are planned and operated by staff members of university public relations offices can be bland and boring. However, student ambassadors give insight about the reality of school life, so they can introduce the university in a down to earth way to make students better understand what to expect.
The Observer went to the actual briefing session for Maecheon high school that took place on August 2nd, 2012. This session took place in the audiovisual room of Maecheon high school, and 150 students attended. The session was conducted by two ambassadors and one member of the university public relations team. Before the session began, two guide books were distributed to the high school students. One introduced the various departments at YU and provided information about entering YU. The other provided information about the YU admission officer system for 2013. The two ambassadors alternated as presenters. At the beginning of the session, they held the students’ attention by engaging them in entertaining small talk. They also created a friendly atmosphere by telling jokes between presentations like, “Our university has a quaint legend that you will fall in love if you walk down Love Road with someone special.” They also tried to identify with the students through friendly stories about their high school years. The presentation was kept simple to make it easy to understand and follow. This year’s presentation included news about the subway opening last month and the new affiliation between airlines and the department of free majors that was established this year. When they explained the admission system, they gave examples to help explain more complicated issues for students to help their understanding. The session lasted one hour, but the students were attentive throughout. The event was a success, and students continued to ask questions after the formal session ended. The ambassadors handed out mementos such as toothbrushes with the message “Good luck on the College Scholastic Ability Test.”
Online activities of YU LOVE
There is a formal university blog on NAVER. The blog address is “http://blog.yu.ac.kr/.” It contains a variety of information and introductions involving YU. The YU LOVE members post photos and contents pertaining to entrance briefing sessions on the blog. The cyber public relations room on the YU website also includes an introduction to YU LOVE and their activities. The address of that page is “http://pr.yu.ac.kr/.” YU LOVE manages two online web pages on Facebook and NAVER cafe. They made an online web page to keep in touch with YU students and the community. The Facebook address is “http://www.facebook.com/loveyu1996” and the NAVER address is “http://cafe.naver.com/loveyu1004/.”
Interview with the chairman of YU LOVE
English Language & Literature
Q) What made you decide to be a student ambassador?
A) I had always been interested in activities like student ambassador and was aware of this early on. I take pride in being a Yeungnam University student and I hoped to improve myself through this activity. So, I decided to apply to be a student ambassador, and I am still active now.
Q) What has been the most difficult part of your work?
A) Occasionally, I have to skip classes because of ambassador activities at the beginning of the semester. My schedule seemed very hectic at first, but I learned how to manage my schedule as a student and an ambassador.
Q) What have been your most rewarding moments?
A) I feel rewarded whenever our activities are helpful to the development of the university. For example, when students apply to YU or when the number of students who visit the YU blog increases. I have gained confidence and learned a lot in terms of competence through various activities. I hope many students who have love for YU and want to develop themselves through this work apply for YU LOVE.
The number of applicants to YU is on the rise. The efforts of YU LOVE have contributed to this trend. Through this report, I came to understand that these student ambassadors do so much to raise YU’s profile. They are the face that represents YU and they made me feel very proud to be a student at YU.
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