Students expand horizons through ambassador program and living-learning community

The Community of Artists and the CVPA Ambassadors
The Community of Artists and the CVPA Ambassadors at their winter Holiday Social

The College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) Ambassadors and the Community of Artists spent the fall semester expanding their horizons through educational and extra-curricular opportunities.

The CVPA Ambassadors are students that are selected to represent the college and act as campus leaders by being the go-to students for everything CVPA related. One of the new responsibilities for the ambassadors is to assist the college with the University Performance Series.

Dana Trask, assistant director of Advising in the CVPA, said that the Ambassadors helped the college during the National Players’ performance of “Othello” by assisting with logistics. “They are helping behind the scenes as ushers, driving guests in golf carts and helping the dean’s office with the ins and outs of inviting lots of people to campus,” she said.

Some of the Ambassadors have been tapped to serve as student representatives on the committee that chooses the performances that are a part of the University Performance Series.

Through activities such as this, the Ambassadors have developed and grown their public speaking skills and comfort level with speaking with new students and faculty. The student Ambassadors assisted with multiple open houses this fall, including a panel hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions for incoming students during the November Open House with other Radford University Ambassadors.

“At that panel, they helped incoming students become more comfortable with Radford by discussing campus organizations and clubs, residential life, and took questions from students,” Trask said.

During the semester, two of the student Ambassadors decided to work together to bring awareness of hearing damage to music students.

“The two Ambassadors are now working with music faculty on a plan to educate music students on effective ways to protect their ears and preserve the music,” Trask said. “They are passionate about being involved and making a difference through the arts. Their enthusiasm guides the majority of our projects and it’s making the Ambassadors and the Community of Artists programs stronger.”

In addition to the other responsibilities, the Ambassadors are taking a leadership role with the Community of Artists, a living-learning community for first-year students, both freshman and transfer, in the CVPA. The Ambassadors are helping plan socials and other activities for the students in the living-learning community.

Some of the Community of Artists fall events:

  • Music Therapy Workshop - Trish Winter, associate professor of music, led a discussion on stress and a therapeutic drum circle.
  • Halloween Makeup Workshop - Monica Weinzapfel, professor of theatre, taught the group various theatre makeup tricks and techniques including creating fake wounds using scar wax and fake blood.
  • Little Shop of Horrors - The Community of Artists went on a joint trip with the Honors Academy to see the musical Little Shop of Horrors at the Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke.
  • Bobcat Backpacks - The Community of Artists and the CVPA Ambassadors came together to volunteer at the Radford Gives Back, Bobcat Backpacks event. They helped to pack bags of donated food for local schoolchildren and assisted in getting the packed bags to distribution sites.
  • Choreography Workshop - Amy VanKirk, assistant professor of dance, taught Halloween themed dance choreography.
  • Fall Social – The CVPA Ambassadors held a joint social in the Bonnie Hurlburt Student Center game room with the Community of Artists.

Trask said that the increase in the number of events held and the close collaboration with the Ambassadors has helped the Community of Artists become a close-knit group.

“My favorite part of working with the students is their excitement and enthusiasm – they are full of new ideas,” Trask said. “I love being able to help them find connections or the confidence to go for it. Students seem to grow so much as individuals and as artists during their college years. I just enjoy being able to witness and encourage their process.”

Dec 12, 2017
Max Esterhuizen