Student ambassadors reflect on 2022 term

(Photo courtesy of Lina Sattarin)

Editor’s note: “High school” is corrected from the print edition to the online edition of this article. The Collegian apologizes for this error. Additionally, in the original published version of this article and in the print edition, Alan Fankhauser’s last name was incorrectly spelled as “Sankhauser.” Upon realizing our mistake, we immediately updated this published article with the correct spelling of Mr. Fankhauser’s last name. The Collegian gives its sincerest apologies to Mr. Fankhauser for this error and to our readers for any confusion this mistake may have caused.

The student body votes on two distinguished students during homecoming week each year to represent the university at events, assist President Linton when needed and attend Alumni board meetings. Stacia Mendoza, senior in finance and political science, and Joshua Diazdeleon, senior in elementary education and leadership studies, said they are finishing up their one-year term.

Diazdeleon said his position allows him to give back to Kansas State.

“My involvement in the band and the College of Education among other professional, academic and social organizations really brought K-State up to me in a way that I decided it was time to give back,” Diazdeleon said.

 Diazdeleon said an interesting aspect of the job is meeting alumni and stakeholders.

“In our presentations, we give an update to alumni about the lives of students across the university as a whole,” Diazdeleon said. “We discuss student groups, athletics, academics, media and other student life updates.” 

Alan Fankhauser, student ambassador adviser, said ambassadors introduce K-State to high school students through Catbacker Alumni Clubs across the state.

“The student ambassadors travel with campus speakers like a dean or president from the college to help the program be more well-rounded to appeal to high school juniors and seniors that are considering coming to K-State,” Fankhauser said.

Diazdelon said while traveling to different alumni clubs, they passed through his hometown.

“It has been an honor to represent southwest Kansas and to be able to represent home,” Diazdeleon said. “I love nothing more than putting that spot on the map because I think a lot of folks down there are the living epitome of what it means to be a Wildcat.” 

Mendoza said representing the student body is a big honor. 

“When we are speaking to administrators it is not just our opinions, but the opinions of the student body. We are trying to reflect not just what we may personally think about a situation, but what we have heard from our peers,” Mendoza said. 

Mendoza said she shared her story as a scholarship recipient, while speaking at a gala for the Alumni Association to raise scholarship money for students. Mendoza said after hearing her story many attendees changed their endowment funds to go into a scholarship.

“Hearing that just me sharing my story will allow more students in the future to receive scholarship money meant a lot to me, and it is something I am most proud of,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza said ambassadors also work closely with campus leaders.

“The relationship student ambassadors form with university leaders is very organic because a large amount of time is spent with the college deans and presidents in an informal setting, like long car rides and social events,” Mendoza said. “This social time allows leaders to ask them genuine questions so ambassadors can give in-depth feedback about what is happening with student life.”

Among their many other duties, ambassadors run the student alumni board, Diazdeleon said.

“I think the opportunity to share what we have at K-State is a great experience,” Mendoza said. “Being able to connect alumni and students from outside of Manhattan to what is happening at the campus is a really special experience.” 

Diazdeleon said his year as an ambassador was fast-paced and rewarding.

“This is one of the few roles I haven’t felt burnt out with, and I am truly going to miss it,” Diazdeleon said.

Current ambassadors are starting the interview process for new candidates, and the 2023 student ambassadors will be announced during halftime of the homecoming football game, Mendoza said.

Diazdelon said he and Mendoza will begin mentoring the new ambassadors after they are elected, until the beginning of their one-year term in January.

Mendoza said she encourages students to attend events such as Pant the Chant, where ambassador candidates will answer questions throughout homecoming week, Oct. 23-29. 

Mendoza said voting for the 2023 student ambassadors will be open to students on Oct. 27 through Canvas from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.