For Darren Allison, his first visit to K-State was quite strange. When he asked his campus tour guide if he liked attending K-State, the guide turned around and walked inside.
“He came back out and apologized, he was crying and said he was just really passionate about this place,” Allison said. “I could see it was more than just a college, and more than just a place to get an education.”
Starting next year, Allison, junior in marketing and public relations and Angela Muhwezi, junior in biology and pre-dentistry, will have the opportunity to impact prospective students just as Allison’s tour guide impacted his college decision.
Allison and Muhwezi were elected by the student body during the All-University Homecoming week as 2011 K-State Student Ambassadors. The results were announced at the Homecoming football game.
“When I first heard my name called I was completely shocked and in disbelief,” Muhwezi said. “I’m really grateful that the student body chose me to represent them throughout the year; I’m really excited for what’s to come.”
While two new students are chosen annually for the position of ambassador, this year’s election was one for the history books. Muhwezi was chosen as the first African-American ambassador to represent K-State.
“It’s really an honor. Honestly that was one of the reasons why I may have doubted myself, because there hadn’t even been another African-American to win this position,” she said. “It’s kind of like — for me, it made me feel like a boundary was broken. It doesn’t matter, your race or where you’re from.”
Muhwezi said she is excited to be a part of history, but said the students who voted her into the position are as much a part of history as she is.
“A lot people were telling me congratulations, but I said, ‘Congratulations to you; you voted for me and made history happen at K-State,'” she said. “I feel like it’s a big deal for the student body in general.”
Allison said he is very excited to be serving his ambassador term with Muhwezi and said her nomination shows the diversity of K-State.
“That’s one of the reasons I like K-State… here people come in from all over the country, and there are a lot of different viewpoints,” he said. “It shows how diverse the campus is.”
The job of an ambassador is quite lengthy — one year — but it has one primary goal set in place.
“Definitely the most important thing that they will be doing is speaking with both prospective students and alumni,” said Darchelle Martin, associate director of alumni programs and adviser to the ambassadors.
Martin said other responsibilities of the ambassadors include giving presentations and student perspectives of K-State to various groups around the state, traveling through the spring, summer and fall semesters in 2011, attending Student Alumni Board meetings and also assisting the president’s office when necessary.
While the list of obligations for an ambassador is long, both Allison and Muhwezi are prepared for the time commitment the job brings with it.
“I consider my economics homework a time commitment, but ambassador I know is something I’m going to love,” Allison said.
Muhwezi said she is looking forward to the opportunity, and prepared in advance for the lengthy agenda.
“It’s going to be quite a time commitment because it’s the whole year including spring, summer and fall, but before I even applied I made sure I would be able to fulfill the position if I was chosen,” she said.
Both Muhwezi and Allison have been heavily involved in campus organizations and activities throughout their K-State careers. Muhwezi is currently the vice president for the Black Student Union, a K-State multi-cultural ambassador, a member of the United Black Voices Gospel Choir and a member of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority. Allison is involved with the Alumni Association, works with New Student Services, is a member of K-State Singers and a member of the fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha.
The pair said they are excited about the opportunities that lie ahead, and happy to be working with each other throughout the year.
“Darren is an amazing guy. I was so excited for him when he won. He’s just a really talented guy,” she said. “That’s what makes it even more exciting, that I’m working with someone as great as he is”
Allison agreed that they will work well together, and said he is ready to work with Muhwezi to represent K-State.
“She is awesome. I didn’t have the opportunity to meet her until we were selected as finalists, but I’m just really excited for the opportunity,” he said.
For their term as K-State Ambassadors, both Muhwezi and Allison will receive the Alumni Association’s official K-State ring, dress clothing from Borck Bros. and a scholarship. But, apart from the perks, the newly elected ambassadors said they are excited to be able to represent a school that they love.
“There’s nothing else I’m going to be as passionate about, there’s nothing I believe in as much as this,” Allison said.