Clark University’s Campus Ambassadors are a visible and welcome presence on campus.
And they are constantly on the move.
The contingent of undergraduate and graduate students roam the campus, unlocking doors for students who have locked themselves out of their residence hall or room, guiding campus visitors to their destinations, and escorting fellow students across campus after dark or to Health Services if they’re not feeling well. At University events, they assist with processing attendees and respond to audience members’ needs as they arise, giving organizers added reassurance that things will run smoothly.
“The ambassadors focus their efforts on students, staff, faculty, families, and visitors to campus who need assistance,” says Kamaro Abubakar, associate dean for student success, community living, who oversees the Campus Ambassadors program. “They are a resource for everyone.”
In 2021, in response to concerns raised by the Black Student Union and other members of the campus community, President David Fithian appointed the Task Force on Campus Safety and Security — composed of students, faculty, and staff members — to assess Clark’s policing practices and overall approach to safety and security. One of the recommendations emerging from the Task Force’s work was to shift the responsibility for responding to lockouts and other nonemergency service calls from University Police to a team of students. That recommendation has evolved into the current Campus Ambassadors program.
Abubakar notes that in the early days of the program, ambassadors largely assisted with duties related to COVID-19, such as delivering meals to students in isolation housing. When those tasks became no longer necessary, he and the ambassadors’ supervisor, Feyzal Ebrahim, M.A. ’22, restructured the program to channel the students’ responsibilities into a variety of services.
Ambassadors are on duty seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. (though lockout requests are responded to as early as 7 a.m.), with three students working each shift. They wear red uniform shirts and are currently being outfitted with matching red jackets identifying them as ambassadors, and they operate a golf cart that’s used for escorts and other requests. Each hour, an ambassador checks in at five specific locations across campus and scans a QR code with their phone. If they spot a potential safety hazard, they report it to University Police or Facilities Management.
“Ambassadors are more than guides,” Abubakar says. “They are liaisons of goodwill.” For instance, if a visitor is looking for Student Accounts, an ambassador will accompany them to the office rather than simply give directions. This year, Clark Ambassadors will be a helpful presence at Gala, Commencement, and Reunion, among other signature events.
Ebrahim, who came to Clark to earn his master’s degree in international development, learned about Clark by meeting people and participating in campus life — through the Dean of Students office, working on Reunion Weekend, helping with Spree Day preparations, and finding other routes toward Clark knowledge and friendship. He also was part of the early lockout team and drove for ClarkRide. Through his collection of experiences, he learned how he could become a Clark resource for others, which led him to his supervisory position. Ebrahim now schedules, trains, and motivates 19 student ambassadors. “They’re a great team,” he says.
“Campus Ambassadors don’t stay in one place,” Ebrahim insists, with a grin. “There’s nothing stationary about this job.”
Philly Brainin ’24 sees his work as a Campus Ambassador as an extension of his deep and ongoing involvement in Clark activities, including his service as a Peer Mentor and participation on dance teams. “This is a good opportunity for me to share my experiences and perspective with other students,” he says. “Something as simple as being locked out of your room puts you in a vulnerable position, so it’s nice when a fellow student shows up to let you in. There’s a friendliness and openness about it.”
Graduate student Jamuna Prajapati, M.S. ’24, described the job of Campus Ambassador as a “prestigious” one because “it allows me to support other people who are facing some kind of issue.”
Since the ambassadors interact with so many different individuals at Clark, “we tend to know everyone,” she says, as she gestures to the campus. “And we’ve been everywhere.”
Campus Ambassadors can also be reached at 1-508-450-5584. Campus partners, student clubs, and others requesting event staffing assistance from Campus Ambassadors should complete this request form.