LAS Peak Ambassadors begin 2019 without Braza

12 February 2019

Brianna Kraemer

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    As the spring semester kicks off, the LAS Peak Ambassadors begin their first semester without the founder of the program, Peter Braza.

    The LAS Peak Ambassadors program consists of about 20 students from the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences. It was created by the former Dean of the college, Peter Braza, in spring 2017 to help amplify student voices on campus with ambassadors who represent the values of their departments through academic success and ambition.

    Braza commented on the program in an email, “The LAS Peak Ambassadors are a group of exceptional students from all the disciplines in LAS.  The goals of the group are to Represent the College (and university), Advise the dean and Promote the College — RAP for short.”

    These ambassadors represent the student population when it comes to vital topics like fees, curriculum and faculty awards. They are focused on supporting fellow student events as well as bringing a student perspective to several areas on campus.

    Erynn Mitchell, a senior majoring in film studies, has been a part of the program for a year and a half and finds that it is difficult to find places and opportunities where students can speak on important topics without the LAS Ambassadors program.

    “I am the student representative for Visual and Performing Arts, the student representative on the Curriculum and Requirement Committee and I am the former Vice President/Unified Executive of the Club,” said Mitchell via email.

    Mitchell said, “this program has been a fantastic resource to close the gap between what people assume students think and what students actually think. It has done a fantastic job of facilitating an administrative faculty-student connection that I think is vital for any learning institution.”

    The program seems to be continuing to strive in the right direction despite the sudden departure of Peter Braza.

    Mitchell said, “while we do miss his active presence in the club, we still have strong faculty leadership with Margie Oldham. She has been the center of the club as well as Peter, and with her here we still have a smooth flow to the club activities. His departure temporarily shook the club up, however, we focused our energy as a collective group to give a student voice to who should be interim while the college waits for a new Dean.”

    Israel Wheatley, the ambassador for Languages and Cultures, co-president of the club and culture editor for The Scribe, described the yearly activities and events the club takes part in. “We do a number of projects throughout the year, including the annual Springs in Bloom in which we care for a small garden downtown. Aside from that, last fall semester we put together a series of short promotional videos for UCCS.”

    Commenting on his goals for this next year, Wheatley said, “One major project I’ll be focusing on this year is getting more students enrolled in language courses for my department. We’ll be going to high schools to talk about our programs in the hopes that those students will feel more comfortable taking on language courses at UCCS.”

    Elections for the new president and vice president took place on Feb. 2, Windesheim and Wheatley were elected president and vice president, along with the discussion of upcoming events for the spring term. Mitchell stated, “I personally have been so excited to see Noelle Windesheim and Israel Wheatley step up as nominees. I think that they are fantastic students who are going to really help us grow as a college and a club.”

    Some events that they will be participating in this month include the LAS downtown workshop where ambassadors will be working with student interns. They will also be at the LOVE LAS alumni mixer on Feb. 12 to explain the importance of alumni involvement in the UCCS community.

    Former Dean Braza believes the program will grow well into the future, especially with Margie Oldham of the dean’s office; she is the organizer and creative glue of the Ambassador group.