Student ambassadors engage in new program

Des Delgadillo
News Editor

Ten students were announced as the University’s first set of presidential ambassadors Sun­day at a ceremony held at the University House in Claremont.

Mirrella Bautista, Nicole Cuadras, Melissa Diaz, Nabel Haro, Bradlee Johnson, Oscar Mauricio, Tamar Miot, Reginald Mitchell, Vidya Narayanas­wamy, Victoria Perez, Adam Plax and Kevin Santos became the first group of students in the new program.

“I’m so excited and enthusiastic about this program because I think it’s adding distinction and relevance to the University grounded in the values of who we are,” President Devorah Lieberman said.

Spearheaded by Lieberman’s husband Roger Auerbach and Executive Assistant to the President Shannon Higgins, the Presidential Ambassador Program aims to give these students face-time with some of the University’s most influential figures.

“The greater understanding of the University of La Verne comes from (students) being able to see a more administrative side of the University,” Higgins said.

“They will get to see what President Lieberman does; they will get to understand the types of people President Lieberman is meeting with, the types of conversations being had to help advance the University, and they’ll be able to put that in context in understanding how the University runs,” she said.

The ambassadors will be given the chance to network with members of the Board of Trustees, as well as other key University stakeholders.

“Normally students do not have this type of access to the president of the University,” Mitchell, a graduate student in health administration, said.

The program yielded a diverse pool of applicants, including traditional undergraduate, master’s and CAPA students.

“When I looked around when we had our meeting, I was inspired,” Mitchell said. “Everyone was represented at the table. Everyone has a voice.”

The ambassadors’ reasons for joining the program may vary, but one common motive is student representation and advocacy.

“If I can use this opportunity to help other students, that is the main goal,” said Cuadras, a junior communications major and executive vice president of the Associated Students of the University of La Verne.

For Mitchell, who spent time in the military reserves and is now on the cusp of completing his master’s thesis, putting a face and a voice to the student experience for stakeholders is important.

“I want to see if my experience can be conveyed to the stakeholders,” Mitchell said.

Since this is the first year of the program, the ambassadors recognize the precedent they will set for the future.

“We have a really big task ahead of us,” Cuadras said. “I think it’s really cool being part of the inaugural part of this program and getting to shape it for future people to get involved.”

The program’s administrators are asking this year’s ambassadors to re-apply to mentor next year’s group.

Des Delgadillo can be reached at desmond.delgadillo@laverne.edu.

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