Off-Campus Ambassadors Program

In an effort to promote positive community relations and provide resources for off-campus students, the Office of the Vice President Office for Student Success (OVPSS) in conjunction with the Office of Conflict Resolution & Civic Responsibility has established a new initiative called the “Off-Campus Ambassador (OCA)” program. The program will be rolled out through Spring 2014-Fall 2014 culminating with the official launch of this program in Spring 2015.

Selected students will serve as a University community ambassador and campus liaison with the residents of the neighborhood they are living in. Off-Campus Ambassadors (OCAs) will serve as a point-of-contact for student residents and neighbors on their block and provide guidance and resources for off-campus residents to ease their transition to off-campus living. OCAs will also host programs to build community relationships in their neighborhoods and act as a liaison to campus administration and other external entities regarding concerns on issues impacting students off-campus.

Goals of the program:

  • To build community relations with neighborhood residents, other community entities and UAlbany students;
  • To create a positive liaison relationship between off-campus student residents and the University at Albany;
  • To provide safety guidelines, resources, and educational materials regarding campus and neighborhood events for off-campus residents.

Structure:

The program will hire 10 OCAs (to work in teams of 2, five total teams) as part of its pilot initiative. They will be selected based on an application process. The requirements include:

  • Must be an off-campus student with a valid, signed lease;
  • Minimum Junior class standing enrolled full-time;
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 2.50;
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills;
  • No student conduct history;
  • Willingness to commit to participation for the entire Spring 2015 semester.

Campus ambassadors will work in teams of two (“co-CAs”) for the duration of their assignment and would operate in this capacity during events such as hosting programs and while conducting door-to-door visits to drop off materials. Ambassadors will be assigned to blocks within the Pine Hills area.

Expectations of OCAs will include:

Liaison and Relationship-Building

  • Be familiar with the neighborhood/street(s) assigned to in order to establish relationships with students and residents.
  • Act as University student liaisons between Albany Police Neighborhood Engagement Officers assigned to their block.
  • Attend neighborhood association and other committee meetings (i.e. Pine Hills Neighborhood Association) to act as a student representative for assigned neighborhood.

Resource Referral

  • Be a point of reference to provide students with off-campus and campus-based resources to assist with immediate questions or concerns.
  • Be familiar with tenants’ rights issues and educate students and others about this topic.
  • Maintain a log of student/neighbor concerns and issues (to be reviewed with supervisor to assist in resolving issues).

Disseminate Information

  • Establish an email distribution list and phone list for all off-campus students on their block and email them regularly with updates on their neighborhood and the UAlbany community.
  • Distribute educational materials related to off-campus living (safety brochures, code of conduct, off-campus booklets etc.)
  • Promote programs sponsored by the University, Division, specifically the Office for Personal Safety and Off-Campus Affairs.
  • Newsletter, social networks

Programming

  • Host and market (with co-OCA) a minimum of two social programs per semester for assigned neighborhood including “mixers” between student residents and long-term neighbors.
  • Administer recognition programs including “Property Props!” award program – identify and reward student-leased properties that are well-maintained throughout the year.
  • As needed, assist in facilitating forums for students to respectfully and civilly discuss neighborhood issues.
    Leadership
  • Model safe, healthy, respectful behavior (adhere to all local, state and federal laws and the University’s code of conduct).
  • Maintain a positive attitude.
  • Develop and maintain trust of students and long term residents.

Administration

  • Attend monthly staff meetings with supervisor.
  • Attend monthly all-OCA team meetings.
  • Attend required trainings.
  • Check University e-mail daily and respond to supervisor in a timely fashion.

Assignments may be influenced by where an OCA’s apartment lease is located but OCAs will not be required to live in the neighborhood they are assigned to. For example, an OCA living on Myrtle Avenue could be made the ambassador to Quail Street.

Remuneration will be paid in stipend form, $640.00 for the semester which will include approximately 5 hours of expected work per week at $8.00 an hour pay scale during a sixteen week period.

Stay tuned for more details on how to apply to be an OCA and upcoming events and programs!