The ‘superheroes’ leading Mason’s touring experience
Touring season is year-round at George Mason University, with sessions offered Monday through Saturday, twice a day, each week. The people who help make this happen are the Masonic Ambassadors: Mason’s student-volunteer tour guides.
“Ambassadors are like mini superheroes,” said Carla Goodwin, Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions and Mason Ambassador Advisor.
In addition to leading tours for prospective students, visitors, and new Mason employees, Ambassadors participate in and represent Mason’s student population at admissions events, student panels, webinars, and photo shoots. .
“What’s unique about these tours run by current students is that they provide this sentimental, emotional piece about Mason,” Goodwin said. “It’s nice to see what Mason really means to current students and how it makes a difference to them.”
For Sam Harrison, president of Mason Ambassadors and senior specialist in community Health, “College was about feeling comfortable with discomfort,” she said. “In high school, I had a terrible fear of public speaking, so I joined Mason Ambassadors in 2019 to really improve my communication and interpersonal skills.”
Ambassadors go through an application and interview process. Once accepted, they undergo training, including workshops with offices such as Career Services and Student Success Coaching for individualized academic and professional development.
Each spring, Goodwin said she teaches a one-credit course, called “UNIV 333: Peer Leadership—Mason Ambassadors,” to help ambassadors become familiar with various student support services, such as the LGBTQ+ Resource Center and the Office of International Programs and Services.
The training also has practical applications for ambassadors.
Navigating the various resources and Mason’s large campus can be overwhelming, Harrison said. And the training makes it easy to access Mason’s many offices and share that important tour information.
Mario Belenfante, Vice President of Tours for Mason Ambassadors, said he joined the team to get involved, make connections and gain valuable experience for his Communication Major.
“I always tell people at the end of my tours that I hope I can make Mason feel like an inclusive and safe place and make Mason feel like home for them,” said Belenfante, who led 78. tours in the spring semester 2022.
Tours are constantly evolving as Ambassadors strive to tailor the experience for students with different interests and as new features are added to the Fairfax campus.
Campus tours consist of a 30-minute information session with a member of the admissions staff, followed by a campus tour led by an Ambassador or a self-guided walking tour.
Mason also offers virtual options, including virtual information sessions led by an admissions counselor, virtual guided tours led by Mason Ambassadors, and an independent virtual tour accessible anytime in the university. website.
These virtual options remain important, Goodwin said, because they make tours accessible to underrepresented students and those who may not have the financial means to travel or take time off work.
Due to growing interest in campus tours, Goodwin said the goal is to recruit 100 new Mason Ambassadors this semester.
Students can apply here before September 24.