Monday, Sept. 21, 2015
As the UCI Road World Championships got underway on Saturday morning, a pregnant cycling fan from Washington, D.C., asked the quickest way to get to Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in case of emergency.
VCU student Celeste Azubuike, a risk management and insurance major in the School of Business, pointed the way. “It’s right down Broad Street,” she said. “You go down Franklin and take a left. Have fun watching the race and have a great day!”
Azubuike is one of 20 students serving this week as VCU Worlds ambassadors, providing helpful information and updates on the race, offering advice on how to get around campus, and being the welcoming face for VCU to the thousands of visitors from around the globe.
“It’s kind of a weeklong open house here at VCU,” Azubuike said. “We want to make all of our visitors feel welcome here.”
For the duration of the race, two teams of ambassadors — black and gold teams — are set up at tented locations on campus, as well as roaming around campus wearing backpacks with large banners that say, “Ask Me!”
The ambassadors are also distributing hand fans, which feature VCU’s logo and a list of the top 10 things to do while in Richmond and on campus. In addition, they are providing tips on places to eat on and around campus, pointing out nearby restrooms and telling visitors about VCU.
“We want to show off to the world all the awesome things we do here at VCU,” said Naomi Wagner, a senior forensic science major in the College of Humanities and Sciences.
Each of the ambassadors has been issued an iPad mini, allowing them to use an app that translates foreign languages for visitors from other countries, as well as to provide cycling fans with information on race schedules, shuttle bus locations and more.
We want to show off to the world all the awesome things we do here at VCU.
“I chose to serve as an ambassador team captain for the bike race because I just love people,” said Zach Willis, one of four students serving as team captains. “I love to learn about new people and their different cultures. I believe every single person you meet knows something you don’t and has a different viewpoint on life than you do. I have something of a passion for learning about what other people are excited about and why.”
Willis said he was excited for the opportunity to serve as a VCU Worlds ambassador because it combines his love of promoting VCU, meeting new people and cycling. “My father got me into biking and helped me to really appreciate it as a sport when I was young,” he said. “I was always biking around with my friends when I was young.”
The ambassadors come from across VCU, and each has previously served as a VCU orientation leader, admissions ambassador or both.
“These students are ideal representatives of VCU because of their familiarity with the campus and city, experience fielding questions, and history engaging with visitors to our campus,” said Lynanne Jamison Yndestad, director of New Student and Family Programs for the Division of Strategic Enrollment Management, which oversees the ambassadors program.
“We hope that the training and work we are tasking these students with will help them to apply their existing leadership and communication skills to an even more diverse global population and will be something they remember for years to come as a highlight of their VCU experience,” she said.
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