The College provides students a creative way to connect in a new, virtual format.
When new students arrive to UB, the College of Arts and Sciences immediately provides ways for them to have the opportunity to make connections and build professional relationships. With that in mind, every year the College assembles a group of exceptional undergraduate students to serve as College Ambassadors.
The College Ambassadors are student volunteers nominated for the position by faculty and staff after demonstrating a commitment to academic excellence and community engagement. Ambassadors represent the College at a wide variety of events, serving as liaisons between the Dean’s Office and the student body. They provide insight, advice and information to current and prospective students, as well as their parents and families during their college search.
As part of the College Ambassador program, students participate in training and team building sessions each semester. These sessions allow them to gather as a group, get up to speed on their tasks for the semester and learn more about everything UB and the College have to offer.
This fall training for the College Ambassador was different than previous years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. What normally would be in-person events, shifted to Zoom. When planning this virtual training, Anne Mecca, assistant director for strategic programs and supervisor of the Ambassador program, and Michael Spears, graduate assistant, looked for unique and fun ways to engage the College Ambassadors and help them work as a team. Mecca contacted her friend and colleague in student and campus engagement, Kyle Schillace, assistant director for campus activities at Cornell University, who has been executing virtual student programming for several months. Schillace graciously shared his blueprints for a virtual escape room, created via Google Forms and executed through Zoom breakout rooms.
Using the outline of Cornell’s virtual escape room, Spears created the “A Day with Victor E. Bull” version for the UB College Ambassadors. Victor wants to connect with the College Ambassadors somewhere on North Campus and he has left a host of clues to help them find him! The clues range from examining campus maps to equations involving UB cookies and commencement regalia.
During the UB virtual escape room, Ambassadors were broken into groups to work to solve the mystery and find Victor E. Bull. The students expressed their excitement about the challenge:
After about an hour, all 12 teams completed the exercise successfully.
“The escape room was a really fun way for us to engage our College Ambassadors at the beginning of the semester,” stated Mecca. “In a time when we’re limited in the ways we can interact with our students, this was something a little outside of the box and a welcome break from a regular Zoom meeting!”
“The escape room was a really fun way for us to engage our College Ambassadors at the beginning of the semester. In a time when we’re limited in the ways we can interact with our students, this was something a little outside of the box and a welcome break from a regular Zoom meeting!”
College of Arts and Sciences, Office of the Dean