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Gavin Higbe

The Office of Multicultural Affairs’ Ambassador program heldit’s official commencement Tuesday evening. The program intends toreach out to students of all backgrounds.

“The current mentors want to give back to the new freshman,”Vice President of Multicultural Affairs Carolyn Barber-Pierre said.”That is what this program is about.”

The program assigns each ambassador to two freshmen members.They act as mentors to the new members by answering questions orsimply being someone to talk to.

“My role is to ease the transition of incoming freshmen fromhigh school life to college life,” new Student Ambassador TylerMinick said. “My role is to not necessarily be a parent but to justgive them recommendations.”

Students’ reasons for becoming ambassadors vary. Some feel thatwhen they were freshmen, they were full of questions and wishedthey had someone to lend assistance. Others joined to give back tothe OMA, which has helped them throughout their collegecareers.

“I know last year I always had questions,” ambassador EfrenVillegas said. “I always feel that when someone gives yousomething, it just gives you the opportunity to give it back tosomebody else.”

The ambassadors also said that through OMA, they can moregreatly appeal to ethnic and cultural minorities in and out of theuniversity. In this year’s freshman class of 1634 students, thereare 47 black students, 65 Asian students and 80 Hispanicstudents.

“You cannot be satisfied with those numbers,” ambassador J.T.Thorne said. “[Tulane isn’t] making an active effort to exclude,but they are also not making an active effort to include.”

The OMA intends to combat this problem by reaching out topotential students still in high school. This year, OMA hired twointerns. Sophie Gavin, a new intern will be traveling to highschools around the United States to promote Tulane University tominority students. Asya Aleem, another intern, will be helping withon-campus with activities such as an Human Rights Campaign bustour.

New students have met the start of this program withexcitement.

“I joined to be connected to more people like me, with similarinterests, but not just people who are similar, also people fromdiverse backgrounds,” freshman Lizbeth Arce said, “I really loveit, I’ve met a lot of people.”

OMA Ambassadors provide structure and support to help minoritystudents adjust to the Tulane lifestyle.