UWGB Ambassadors Adapt During COVID-19

Normally, UWGB Student Ambassadors use the first week of school to encourage students to go out and meet new friends, all while enjoying group activities while they adjust to college.

COVID-19 forced the Ambassadors to change almost all of their usual activities during Orientation and Welcome Week this year.

Despite those limitations, the Ambassadors still gave new students a warm welcome to campus.

If you are a student at UWGB, you have likely interacted with a Student Ambassador.

Their main duties involve welcoming prospective and incoming students to UWGB through campus events, such as GB Welcome Week, as well as campus tours.

UWGB Ambassadors welcome the Class of 2024. Photo Credit: UWGB Ambassadors

These events and activities normally take place in-person.

This year, however, COVID-19 had other plans.

UWGB Ambassadors and students gather for a game during a previous years’ Welcome Week. No large gatherings in groups happened for the 2020 event due to COVID-19. Photo Credit: UWGB Ambassadors

McKenzie Rasmussen, a senior at UWGB, is in her third year of being a Student Ambassador. COVID-19 has definitely changed the run of programming from years past.

“We obviously tried [in previous years] to get the freshman out of their rooms and into a group setting (such as a service project, tailgate party at Lambeau Field, and a casino game night) to help them assimilate more and have the opportunity to make connections with other students in-person,” McKenzie said.

Unfortunately, that was not possible for the Class of 2024.

Miriam Casper, Co-Director of the University Student Ambassadors, said a number of events still occurred, with most held virtually.

“Due to the pandemic, a lot of Welcome [Week]’s activities had to be moved online…Orientation moved completely online this summer.”

One event that worked well on a digital format was the Phoenix Photo Challenge, held during GB Welcome Week, where students could go to different locations around campus and take pictures to win prizes.

The rules for the Phoenix Photo Challenge. Photo Credit: @uwgb_ateam Instagram

The Phoenix Photo Challenge included options for on campus and off campus students. Photo Credit: @uwgb_ateam Instagram

Though engagement overall appeared to be lower than in past years for Welcome Week’s activities, as students decided to stay in their hometowns instead of gathering on campus, Miriam understood.

“We tried out hardest to get the students excited and to have fun, but I can understand why they may have not been this year because I would not want to sit in front of a screen all day,” Miriam said, “but it was the reality of the situation that we are in.”

Even though almost all of the events moved online, incoming freshmen were not left to face their first few days of college alone.

“The Ambassadors still made a point of setting a meeting place/time for all three meals for those freshmen in their groups that wanted to meet in-person,” McKenzie said, “and they then practiced safe social distancing while eating.”

McKenzie and Miriam also had some advice for freshmen in their first year at UWGB during the pandemic.

“There are still events, student organizations, classes, etc. being held,” McKenzie said, “And most importantly, reach out for support! There are people here to help you, so take advantage of it!”

“Even though this is not the year that you were expecting,” Miriam said, “you can still make the most out of it and learn how you can thrive here at UWGB.”

Miriam Casper and Erica Kinnard, Co-Directors of the UWGB Student Ambassadors, smile under their masks while preparing for GB Welcome Week. Picture Credit: @lifeatuwgb Instagram

You can find out more information on events at UWGB by clicking here.

If you are interested in joining a student organization, click here.

You can also follow @uwgb_ateam on Instagram to stay up-to-date on all of the Ambassadors’ adventures and activities!

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