Coming to an event near you: The University Foundation Student Ambassadors program

April 11, 2011

Six students have been selected to be the inaugural members of the University Foundation Student Ambassadors program.

It’s been said that great things can come in small packages, and that certainly is the case for the newest—if one of the smallest—Ohio State student organizations, the University Foundation Student Ambassadors (UFSA).

The group was created by The Ohio State University Foundation Office of Donor Relations to address a need for a group of skilled and organized students to assist with donor events. UFSA students will also speak on behalf of the university, undertake a fundraising initiative in support of Ohio State or other community program, interact with donors and friends at donor events, and serve as role models in philanthropy for other students.

Carlos Pinkerton, program assistant in the Office of Donor Relations and 2010 Ohio State graduate in communications, was responsible for identifying students who could participate in the program.

“When Carlos was an undergraduate, he was extremely active in the student community, serving on numerous boards and getting involved with many extracurricular projects,” said Amy Fair, associate director of donor recognition in the Office of Donor Relations. “He knows how to motivate students, and he rallied an outstanding selection of candidates for the ambassador positions.”

Pinkerton, who also serves as the UFSA advisor, gathered a strong candidate group through the Office of Student Life, direct marketing in residence halls, and the student-alumni group.

When the application window closed in January of this year, Development staff selected six students to represent Development at Ohio State. “We took balloons to their homes and residence halls and then took them out to breakfast,” said Pinkerton. “It was a great way to celebrate.”

In addition to assisting with events, the students will take a leadership role with student groups interested in philanthropy. To keep good candidates coming in, the students will recruit future ambassadors as well as speak to student groups across campus about the importance of philanthropy to Ohio State.

"I’m extremely proud to be a student ambassador for many reasons,” said Ray Sharp, Industrial Engineering major and UFSA president. “It’s always great to be a part of the beginning of something, and I’m excited to serve as a representative to our alumni and donors. I feel extremely blessed to take on this roll. It will be a blast and a challenge."

Already UFSA students are off to a running start. “They have created a constitution, selected their officers, and they are ready to go,” said Pinkerton. “The students decided the group will not exceed 20 people to keep it small enough to build community, but large enough so members are not spread too thin. We will build the structure incrementally through the years, and that is something the students wrote into the constitution they created.”

“To be able to interact with donors, share stories, foster relationships, and show the impact they are making on our lives will be such a rewarding experience,” said Sarah Puchala, a human nutrition and industry major and UFSA vice president. “Our philanthropy project will be a great way to give back to the community and show how much Ohio State students care about others too.”

“The students are going to have a great impact with donors and get experience making executive decisions in creating a fundraising plan and selecting a benefitting organization,” said Pinkerton. “It’s a great example of how students can give back to the university, connect with donors, and gain leadership experience.”