Multicultural Leadership Ambassadors Group Photo

The Multicultural Leadership Ambassadors.

Photo courtesy of: Multicultural Leadership Ambassadors

Multicultural Leadership Ambassadors Logo

New Multicultural Leadership Ambassadors logo.

Graphic courtesy of: Multicultural Leadership Ambassadors

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Multicultural Leadership Ambassadors strengthens brand and cohesiveness in fourth year


Now in its fourth year, Ohio University’s Multicultural Leadership Ambassadors have focused their efforts on building a stronger brand and becoming a more cohesive team.

These changes were made in an effort to strengthen the team and grow the program into a well-known entity throughout the OHIO and Athens communities.

The Multicultural Leadership Ambassadors Program was created to allow diverse students to share their stories in an effort to encourage their audience members to feel empowered by their own personal experiences. The intent of these efforts is to lead to a more inclusive environment at Ohio University and in the local community.

The Multicultural Leadership Ambassadors have developed a new logo, updated their mission statement and adopted a new vision of Integrity, Inspiration and Inclusivity represented by the colors of dark blue, yellow and green.

These new aspects will help bring public recognition to the Ambassadors and their work through logo association on outreach materials and the colors of the cords worn by graduating Ambassadors.

When Marius Lancaster, a sophomore lead ambassador, joined the group he was concerned that most people were unaware of the program.

“Now we have fliers in Baker [University Center], along Court Street and throughout campus. Now we are marketing ourselves,” Lancaster said.

One of the changes for this year was the redefining of the role of lead ambassador. Students who hold this title are expected to act as student advisors to their peers and help guide the program into the future.

Team building has been a major focus this year.

The Ambassadors meet bi-weekly for program updates and training, and engage in two team-building outings each semester. These events feature fun agendas such as bowling, laser tag and bonfires.

Tyler Reid, a graduating lead ambassador, said he feels the team building has “added an aspect of genuine friendship. Ambassadors now spend time together outside of [work] hours. Previously everyone was friendly, but now there is a high sense of comradery. … I have made good friendships that I will take out of college and it gives me a sense of pride.”

Imani Evans, a junior lead ambassador, said she feels the group is “more invested in each other’s well-being and there is a genuine curiosity in each other’s stories. There is now a sense of growing, healing, and continuing stories.”

Amanda Graham, executive assistant for the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost / Office for Diversity and Inclusion and lead of the Ambassadors Program, is thrilled with the results of team-building efforts.

“I have noticed such a difference, students are getting to know each other outside of school and not just in a working environment … I can’t ask them to be allies to others if they aren’t allies to each other.”

In addition to these core enhancements, the group began office hours in late January. Held Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Multicultural Center, office hours are open to all students, faculty, staff and community members seeking a safe place to discuss topics related to diversity and inclusion.

Evans said she will encourage her presentation attendees to come in and ask questions that they weren’t comfortable asking in front of a larger audience during her office hours. She also invites OHIO and Athens community members with a curiosity to learn more about diversity to come have a conversation.

Heading into the 2018-19 academic year, the Ambassadors will continue to build a campus where everyone is safe and welcome.

“It is my hope that the Ambassadors become so well known throughout campus that students feel comfortable just knowing they are there,” Graham said.

The group will continue to build presentations, host office hours and pilot a residence hall presence as an opportunity for students living on campus to have a conversation with peers about diversity topics. There will be an Ambassador presence in seven pilot residence halls similar to the group’s current office-hours effort.

Each presentation given by the Ambassadors is a conversation about everyday life. They start by telling their story — whether it be about pronouns, creating a racial identity, mental illness or being an ally — and engaging their audience.

The group is advised by Graham to remember why they wanted to be an Ambassador when presenting to an audience.

“The ‘why’ is what you need to get across when you only have a few minutes to talk. A chain reaction is what we hope for in any presentation. If you touch just one person, you are planting that seed,” Graham said.

Anyone who wants to have the Ambassadors speak to group or class can submit a request.

Reid, feeling the program is underutilized, would like to see the OHIO and Athens communities put the Ambassadors to work.

“Conversations are useful in every life scenario, the help that can be found goes beyond diversity conversations or being an ally,” Reid said.

His biggest message to the community is to “use the Ambassadors, even if you don’t know exactly what you want from them. We have never had a bad conversation. You would be surprised about the things we can connect with students on.”

While the program is always accepting new applications, recruitment for the 2018-19 academic year is underway.

Each year ambassadors receive training on public speaking to elaborate on their skills in a way that will complement their personal stories and experiences. They also receive Better Bystanders training, empathetic response and Title IX training, as well as active shooter response training.

Those interested in becoming an Ambassador must complete an application.

To learn more about the Ambassadors, visit https://www.ohio.edu/diversity/ambassadors.cfm.