Feeling Connected with Honors College Ambassadors

Finding your place at the University of Missouri can be a challenge. With nearly 30,000 students and 2,000 faculty, Mizzou can sometimes feel like more of a medium sized town than a university. That disconnected feeling is exactly what motivates many honors students to apply for a position within the Honors College as an Honors Ambassador, who try to ensure that students find a home within the larger university.

The Honors Ambassadors are a group of honors students who serve as the voice for the Honors College’s student body. Honors Ambassadors fall into two categories, the Recruitment Team, and the Programming Board. The Recruitment Team’s main goal is to assist the Honors College in its effort to recruit new students, while the Programming Board is responsible for the planning and organizing of events on behalf of the Honors College, including Geek Week and Homecoming. 

Students play a card game, image zooms on one student
Photo by Olivia Anderson

Strategic Communication major Julia Canellis, a Junior at Mizzou, became a Programming Ambassador for the Honors College after meeting other Ambassadors at events organized by the Programming Board. 

“I didn’t feel really connected to the Honors College community. Before I had started [on the Programming Board], I’d actually been to some of the board’s events, and I really liked them, and I met a lot of the people. That’s really what motivated me [to join],” said Canellis. “I feel a lot more connected to the community now than I ever was before.”

In her time as an Honors Programming Ambassador, Canellis leads at least two events on campus each semester including “Crafternoons,” where honors students get together to make arts and crafts. With some help from other Programming Ambassadors, Canellis organizes and plans every detail of an event. 

“I come up with easy crafts we could do, then I list the supplies, how many people I would need to help, where it’s going to be and what time, and all the promotions stuff like the flyer that’s going to go out in the newsletter,” said Canellis. “You’re the main person everybody goes to, but you have the whole board helping you out at the same time.”

While the Programming Board is hard at work creating events for honors students, the Recruiting Team works to bring new students into the Honors College. 

Current sophomore and psychology major James Long is a Recruitment Ambassador who applied to become an ambassador as a freshman. While serving as a Recruitment Ambassador, prospective students’ visits make up a majority of what Long does. In these visits, Long meets with incoming students and people thinking about coming to Mizzou to answer questions and give tours of the university. Long also attends events off-campus and across Missouri to tell students about the benefits of joining the Honors College. 

“I’ll be going down to Springfield for a countdown Mizzou event for students that are already committed to Mizzou and talking to them about some of the programs inside of Mizzou,” said Long. “Additionally, last spring, I helped with the Honors College graduation by setting it up and making sure people were getting checked in.”

For Long, being a Recruitment Ambassador has also been an important way of repaying the Honors College and honors community for giving him a place to thrive. 

“It’s one of the most rewarding experiences that I’ve got, because I am able to go and share my opinions and my experiences with incoming students,” said Long. “I feel like it’s a place that I can represent not only my school, but specifically the Honors College. I’ve always just really loved the Honors College, And I feel like [being a Recruitment Ambassador] is my way of giving back to it.”

Long has been able to use his outgoing nature and personality to ensure students know what’s available to them and how they can make the most of their time at Mizzou. 

Two students - James Long and Maya Bowman sit together
Photo by Olivia Anderson

“I love talking to people and I love getting to meet incoming students and sharing my experience because, in reality, I really want them to have a great experience here too, and I know that they can and will if they join the Honors College especially,” said Long.

More information about the Honors Ambassadors program, including how to apply, can be found on the Mizzou Honors College website.