Tapping student potential...


Joe Tiesi

Endeavors contributor

We know exactly where to go when we want to see some school spirit. We see the extreme passion for our university in the painted faces in the stands at the basketball game. We recognize the intensity of the fans at our soccer games in the fall. We see it in our dorm wars, our activities fairs, and in the happy faces of our new and returning students each fall.

It is our students who display that raw emotion of intense enthusiasm and school pride. Our students remind us what fantastic places our colleges and universities are in many creative ways.

During the time that I have spent coordinating campus visits for Binghamton, I have been reminded over and over again that the best way to welcome guests to our campus is with our current students. First impressions are lasting impressions. I am confident that the campus visit experience has started the right way when a student shakes our guest’s hand and extends a great big greeting of “welcome, we are happy that you’re here”.

At Binghamton we have our crew of highly trained tour guides, but we have recently added an enthusiastic group of student volunteers. Student Ambassadors are a dynamic group of student volunteers that have hospitality and recruitment as the main focus of their mission statement. Their enthusiasm and sense of school pride is infectious. Wearing a school colored polo shirt and the university logo over their hearts, our Student Ambassadors welcome our guests into the visit experience. They mix and mingle, they are stationed around campus offering to escort visitors to the right place…sometimes they even act as welcoming staff in our campus parking lots.

If your university is hosting an Open House, a group tour or just a regular information session and a campus tour, I strongly endorse the concept of tapping into this wealth of enthusiasm and school pride.

Student Ambassadors find Admissions projects to be fascinating. They love to blog and write letters of encouragement to admitted students. They enjoy instant messaging feel honored when you send them back to their high schools during the winter or spring break. Whether their high school is locally situated in New York or across the globe in China or India, Student Ambassadors beam with pride when speaking about and representing their university. With proper training and a supportive high school guidance counselor, our Student Ambassadors are extremely effective at showing the under classmen they visit how much they love Binghamton. This year more than 50 students have donated thousands of hours to help us reach out to prospective students all over the world.

There is an exciting organization called CIVSA (College Information and Visitor Services Association) that has helped me to define and improve the visit experience at Binghamton University. The mission of CIVSA is to provide a venue to exchange ideas that will help to set standards of excellence in the college visit experience. I have found this group to be extremely helpful. Take a look at the website to find out more about CIVSA.

Our students have the sprit and enthusiasm to make our guests have a memorable, exciting and hospitable visit experience. I know that the visit has been a success when our university is main topic of conversation on the car ride home that evening!