“As Communication Ambassadors, we pledge to always represent the department with dignity and grace; to diligently promote its efforts and accomplishments; and recruit qualified students to both the Corporate and Organizational Communication and Communication Studies majors.” This Mission Statement exemplifies the Communication Ambassadors (CA) program at Western Kentucky University (WKU) very well. The Communication Ambassadors program began in 2003 by Dr. Carl Kell and Dr. Sally Ray. The program was started because these faculty members wanted to develop a student organization where members serve as spokespersons for the Department of Communication. Communication Ambassadors are essentially the ‘face’ of the department for potential, new, and current students.
Communication Ambassadors meet on a monthly basis and use the meetings as times to update themselves on the events going on throughout the department. A typical meeting for the Communication Ambassadors consists of signing up for events and discussing new ways that the Ambassadors can help recruit more students for the Department of Communication. The Ambassadors attend recruitment events throughout the state to speak on behalf of the Department and to recruit potential students.
Dr. Helen Sterk, Head of the Department of Communication, describes the Communication Ambassadors as “dynamic.” Dr. Sterk states, “I love the Ambassadors’ commitment to the Department of Communication. They build the department’s culture through recruiting and hosting potential students, informally advising current students, holding the annual bonfire, and sponsoring ReVerb events. As a department, we know we can rely on the Communication Ambassadors.” The Communication Ambassadors truly know how to give back to the Department of Communication.
Ms. Karen Powell, a current Communication Ambassador, describes the group as “passionate.” Karen’s favorite part about the program is “the relationships I have been able to build. I have met some of the most unique, inspirational people through this program, who have turned into some of my best friends. I feel I am pushed to be better because I know how important it is to represent such a fantastic department and these fantastic people well.” Ms. Chelsea Martin, Communication Ambassador alumna, uses the word “community” to describe the program. Chelsea joined the program during her sophomore year at WKU and says that the CA Program taught her how to network, and to “always be looking for ways to connect with more people.”
Ms. Charlotte Elder is the faculty adviser for the Communication Ambassadors. She describes the Ambassadors as “her rock stars.” In order for a student to be a Communication Ambassador, a professor must nominate and recommend them. Once a faculty member nominates a student, the department evaluates the student’s involvement, grades, etc. and extends offers to 20 students per year. If a student is interested in serving as an Ambassador, they are encouraged to speak with a Communication faculty member and ask him or her to recommend them to Ms. Elder by email at: Charlotte.Elder@WKU.edu.