Texas A&M University Career Center
February 28, 2018
Question: How do you create a win-win-win situation between Career Services, students, and employers? A general answer: Start and cultivate a career peer educator program that aims to educate the student body on Career Center resources and connect students and employers. Sounds simple, right? It is—until you realize you do not have a budget to pay student ambassadors to help in this capacity. So where does the win for these student ambassadors come in? Texas A&M University’s unique answer: Create and continually cultivate the Aggie Career Team (ACT).
Unlike most career peer educator programs, ACT’s members are unpaid student leaders. By structuring our program as a student organization, we as advisors are able to invest in our ambassadors’ leadership and career development through intentional leadership and teambuilding trainings, service-learning opportunities, and organized small-group and social events. One might wonder: how do we motivate our student ambassadors if not with money? It is a good question, but the answer is relatively simple: with the promise for potential glory. Every Career Center event that requires assistance, whether it be a Career Fair, an employer recruiting event, or a presentation to a student organization, is assigned a point value. ACT ambassadors are able to volunteer for these opportunities on a first-come, first-served basis in order to achieve these points. To increase social and service engagement, and thus increasing organizational buy-in, all social events and service-learning opportunities are also given point values. A tally of points is kept throughout the semester, and at the end of each semester, point totals are calculated to reveal a Gold, Silver, and two Honorable Mention award winners. Sure, the Gold and Silver winners are awarded Amazon gift cards, but this is not what drives our students. They thrive on friendly competition and the thought of being able to claim victory over their friends, and this combined with a service-minded campus culture is a recipe for success in three ways: 1) The Texas A&M student body receives information about what the Career Center can offer them from peers who engage in these services every day; 2) The Career Center has more manpower to carry out successful career development events without having to use funds that are often scarce, and 3) Employers have peer advocates in their recruiting efforts on campus.
So how can you get an Aggie Career Team started at your institution? Your motivation for starting this type of program should not be solely derived from a need for student assistance or even a desire to promote your Career Center’s services throughout campus. The motivation should begin with a desire to invest in the leadership development of a small group of dedicated student leaders. The return on this investment will pay out a thousand times over as these leaders pour their time and their selves into connecting employers to the campus community, aiding the Career Center in the sharing of services and resources, and inspiring career development in their fellow students. This is how we achieve that elusive triple win.
Learn more at the #NASPA2018 conference as the Texas A&M University Career Center presents more on this topic. Search for Program ID: 48474 on your NASPA2018 Annual Conference Schedule.
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