HSU Role Models: The Ambassadors By: Jia Spangler

Coming into a brand new school with new people and not living at home can be the first big life change new college students undergo.

There are lots of emotions attached to this new chapter of life, and it can stir up a lot of nerves. However, something that really influenced and helped me in my first year of college were the people I looked up to: my role models.

Hardin-Simmons University’s Ambassador Program has provided students the opportunity to have role models even before setting foot on campus. Caleb Young, Josh Rivera, Caanon Gibbons, Jailyn Woods-McGarthy and Cassidy Davis are five students who are actively involved on campus and each have a designated ambassador Instagram account to showcase their life at HSU.

“[The ambassador program] creates a reference point for both current and future/undecided students. Our accounts give students a glimpse at what life on campus and in Abilene looks like, making it a bit easier to get an idea of what HSU is really like,” said Caleb Young, a senior Kinesiology major from Desoto. Social media has become a very influential role in how colleges connect with students, so providing that kind of personal connection even before students arrive on campus is very unique and special.

The Ambassador Program was officially brought to Instagram in June of 2021 with Caanon Gibbons being the first ambassador to kick off the program. Gibbons is a senior business marketing major from Seminole. Even in such a short amount of time, the ambassadors have already seen how the program has impacted other people.

“So many students I haven’t met in person have either DM’d me or recognized me and felt comfortable to ask about the clubs, organizations and various events I’m involved with. It has created a sense of community and served as a way to provide students with accurate and up to date info on how to be involved on campus,” said Cassidy Davis, a senior theatre major from Frisco.

College is a very unique and formative time in people’s lives, and being involved on campus allows students to learn a lot about themselves and other people. “My favorite part about being an ambassador is being able to show the school in a positive way. I love meeting students on campus and encouraging others to be active on campus and help them find who and what they want to be in life,” said Jailyn Woods-McGarthy, a junior strategic communications major from Dallas.

The ambassadors have already made a meaningful impact on students. It is exciting to anticipate how this program will continue to influence students. “My hope for the future of the ambassador program is to showcase the awesomeness of HSU’s campus, programs, and events to prospective and current students,” said Josh Rivera, a junior psychology major from Lubbock.

Each one of the ambassadors have a unique HSU experience to show students, and it is encouraging to see glimpses of their lives and how each one of them has found community at HSU. The ambassador program has been a great success and the ambassadors have done an excellent job serving as role models for both current and prospective students.