Posted July 21, 2010

Ambassadors welcome new generations of Owls

Owl Ambassadors

Some of the most common advice for deciding where to attend college is to go and see the campus and use instinct to make the final decision.

Given a limited amount of time to make a good impression, colleges must put their best foot forward for the all-important campus tour. At Temple, these tours are spearheaded by an enthusiastic group of students called the Owl Ambassadors.

“We’re kind of the front line of marketing for the university, if you will,” said Maggie Pearson, a junior pre-nursing major and veteran of at least 100 tours.

“I absolutely love it,” Pearson said of her position. “Part of the reason why I wanted to be an Owl Ambassador is because I had such a positive experience on my campus tour of Temple.”

Like her 36 fellow ambassadors, Pearson hopes to create an equally positive experience for other visitors, who come from all over the country. The ambassadors must represent the positive spirit of Temple and convey it to large groups of people — sometimes up to 150 at once.

Since the campus tour is such an integral part of the college decision process, the Admissions Office is understandably choosy about who gets to fill the role of ambassador.

“You have to be very responsible, very motivated and very energetic,” said Pearson. "Obviously you have to love Temple as well."

Another job requirement is a very sharp memory, as knowledge of Temple trivia is a must for any good ambassador.

For example, ambassadors can tell you how many books there are in Paley library (3 million) and how far they would stretch if lined up cover-to-cover (28 miles). They weave interesting nuggets like these into the conversation as they lead potential students and their families through an hour-long look at Main Campus, which includes visits to the Tech Center, Paley Library, the Student Center and the Bell Tower, as well as an academic building and a residence hall.

Pearson reports that parents are often pleasantly surprised by the variety Temple’s campus offers — that it is more than just a city school. But it is up to the ambassadors to show that Temple is more than just a nice campus.

“This past year we had 33,000 visitors,” said Pearson. “It's really fun to see parents who are expecting something very different from what they get to see.”