By Neely Dunlap, communications, sophomore
Faces beamed with a joyous smile as they watched the people who would soon become part of the Clemson Family take their first steps on campus. Standing side-by-side, the Orientation Ambassadors (OAs) welcomed incoming students into their first experience as a Clemson Tiger.
Each year around 30 students are chosen to become the face of Clemson University as OAs for the Ready, Set, Roar! Orientation program that introduces incoming first-year students to campus during the summer.
“There’s magic inside of the Orientation Ambassador experience,” said Matthew Boudreaux, assistant director of Orientation programs.
These top-tier student leaders spend their days guiding incoming students through the two-day Ready, Set, Roar! experience from early summer through July. OAs are provided on-campus housing for the summer and usually help host two Orientation sessions per week. Daily activities include greeting first-year students, program facilitation, participating in panel discussions, informational meetings, social programming and leading a small group around campus.
“That’s an invaluable experience in my opinion — just being able to consistently engage and consistently share vital information, so that people can have a successful first year in their college experience,” Boudreaux said.
An OA from 2022, Dev Bryant, further insisted, “You get the opportunity to be surrounded by a great group of people that you bond with in a way that can’t be truly explained, and you have the opportunity to be a part of something really special like helping welcome the new batch of incoming students and making them feel like Clemson is the place for them.”
Not only do OAs form close relationships with their groups of incoming students, they also form lasting friendships with the other OAs. When not helping run an Orientation session, they can be found spending time together at the lake, the movies or exploring campus together.
“I always say that the 21 individuals I worked with this summer became my best friends,” said Imari Crumity, a 2022 OA. She also sees over half of the OAs she worked with this summer on a weekly basis.
“It’s a really cool experience to walk across campus and not go two feet without saying hello to someone,” Imari noted.
OAs also learn valuable leadership skills. During the Spring semester, they take a leadership course (EDSA 3900) that provides them with a foundation before beginning their work the following summer. OAs attend the NODA Region IV conference where they meet student leaders from other schools in the Southeast and partner in facilitating a weekend for the National Scholars Program students with the Clemson University Honors College.
“The OA position is a great start to whatever version of a Clemson leader experience you are wanting; it is a great segue and it gets you connected to so many individuals on campus,” Boudreaux highlighted.
He wants to have as diverse a team as possible and welcomes students to consider spending their summer in such a rewarding way.
“It’s limitless, honestly — the amount of opportunity that we can give them or that they can take advantage of,” he said.
If a student is still not completely convinced, Boudreaux encourages them to apply anyway.
“Even if you have the smallest inkling to do it, if it sounds somewhat cool, somewhat desirable, come find us and we’ll sell you on the experience,” he said.
Apply to become an OA on the Orientation Ambassador TigerQuest page, or find a link to the application on the CSLE website under the “Orientation Ambassador” tab. The application deadline is Sunday, October 23.