The Presidential Corps: Campus ambassadors

December 14th, 2011 | SMWC

Amira Jaradat is a senior studying journalism at The Woods.

At Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, all students play an important role in representing their College to the community. But only the 15 young women who make up the Presidential Corps have the distinct honor of acting as representatives to the College’s president.

“The Presidential Corps’ primary duty is to act as ambassadors for the president of the College to visitors of the campus,” Presidential Corps President Laura Kempton from Noblesville, Ind. and music therapy major said. Its members are a constant presence at College events, doing everything from greeting visitors to providing historical tours of the SMWC campus. “Essentially, we direct and network with visitors,” Kempton said. Members of the Corps are also involved in formal gatherings and are often invited to attend Board of Trustees meetings.

Being a part of the Presidential Corps, a student-run organization, provides members with a chance to become more involved with the College administration. “It is a great way for students to represent the College and show that we have great leadership skills,” Jordan Pirsch, vice president of the Presidential Corps from Terre Haute, Ind. said.  Interacting with the Corps also makes it easier for visitors to get to know the women of The Woods and to see what kind of qualities the College fosters in its students.  “Guests want to hear from students,” said Kempton. “They enjoy talking to students, hearing about their experiences.”

According to Deb Light, staff advisor for Presidential Corps, students are chosen based on a number of factors, such as general attitude, conversational skills, and participation in extracurricular activities.  Members of the Presidential Corps are nominated by faculty and staff. After an interview process, a selection committee determines which students best exemplify the personality and values of the College. Members of the Presidential Corps are also expected to stand out as leaders both inside and outside of the classroom, and are required to maintain a 3.0 cumulative GPA.

Khadijah Avery, a new addition to the Presidential Corps this year and psychology major from Indianapolis, Ind., takes pride in her 3.7 GPA. “I think I was probably nominated because of my academics and the way I am in class,” Avery said. Avery is also a member of The Woods Sustainability Club and World Wide Woodsies, a club dedicated to celebrating diversity.

“I try to be an overall well-rounded person on campus,” said Shauna Lampley, a returning member of the Corps.”It’s part of our job to keep up to date on what’s happening on campus.” Lampley,  graphic design and digital media major from Fairfield, IL, stressed the role the Corps plays in maintaining the College’s positive image.  “Leadership is definitely a big part of it,” Lampley said. “We have leadership positions [within the Corps], but we all need to be a leader in some way,” she added.

Lampley credits her time with the Presidential Corps with pushing her outside of her comfort zone. “To be part of the Presidential Corps, you need to be very outgoing, because you’re going to be having conversations with important people,” Lampley said.  “It has benefited me a lot... It made me come out of my shell.”

Kempton is also president of Music Therapy Club, secretary of Student Senate, a member of Chorale and Madrigals and secretary of the knitting club. She has learned from her position. “It has allowed me to improve my public speaking skills, to gain more confidence networking in formal settings and to increase my knowledge of The Woods and the Sisters of Providence. All in all, it’s a wonderful experience.”

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