A green jacket – but not for the Master’s

Brooke Sommer has served as an Ambassador at Mercyhurst for the past three years.

It’s a Saturday morning. I hear the low, familiar grumble of the Keurig, followed by the bitter smell of black coffee wafting from the kitchen. “Brooke’s awake,” I think to myself. I turn the corner.  Sunlight streams through the window and reflects off the golden nametag properly pinned on Brooke’s prestigious emerald blazer.  It’s Accepted Students Day at Mercyhurst University…which means it’s also Brooke’s final day on duty as a student ambassador.

“It’s your last day,” I remind her, as if she doesn’t already know.  She smiles.  Like many, Brooke is a woman of few words before her first sip of coffee in the morning.

Let’s rewind. Two and a half years ago, Brooke and I (two insecure freshman roommates entering our first Welcome Week event together) scanned the overwhelming amount of tables lining the gym walls of every club and activity offered on campus. Friendly representatives smiled and waved prospective members over to sign up and grab a free pen.  “We should just sign up for everything,” Brooke suggested to me.

We started with the closest table to us where a group wearing stylish, green blazers told us all about embodying the spirit of Mercyhurst as student ambassadors. That was the only table we signed up at that day. We wanted those jackets.

“It was overwhelming,” Brooke recalls of the ambassador pledge process, “They really expected a lot of us.”

Becoming an ambassador wasn’t just like becoming a member of the other clubs with tables at the Activity Fair. There was a lot of studying, tests, simulations, mentoring sessions, and tours.  Not to mention, a strict dress code. “Ugh, fashion major probs,” Brooke says with a laugh.

“The worst part of the pledge process,” Brooke says, “was definitely practicing tours in anticipation of the graded one.” As her roommate, I had the joy of role-playing rowdy prospective students and parents to help her prepare for the evaluated tour.  She nailed every question I threw at her and could rattle off an entire tour speech at any given time of the day (I know because she talks in her sleep).

“Was it worth it?” I ask her (coming from someone who dropped out after hearing the amount of dedication required of the position). Like mentioned, being a student ambassador isn’t just like every other club on campus – it involves a lot of commitment, it’s a job. “And that’s how I looked at it…it was my job.  And just like most people, there are days I loved my job and days I didn’t feel like getting up early to give a tour to a group of teenage high school boys,” she explains.  “But the money was nice,” she tacks on.

Some extra spending money wasn’t the only perk Brooke will take away from her time as a face of Mercyhurst admissions. “Being an ambassador, you learn so much about the history of the school, and it makes you appreciate how we all ended up here.  I was able to see our campus as more than just a place to go to class,” she reflects.  Sam Lioi, Student Ambassador Club President, agrees that, “Ambassadors play such a crucial role to the way our school works.  Brooke has definitely made a lasting impression on those she has met during her time in that role.”

Brooke and her twin brother, Evan, who clearly wants a green jacket of his own.
Brooke and her twin brother, Evan, who clearly wants a green jacket of his own.

Above all, Brooke’s favorite takeaway from her green-jacketed experience was being able to combine her role as an ambassador to teach prospective students more about the fashion merchandising program. “Giving tours to possible future fashion majors was always fun.  I could relate to them more, talk about what I love, and sell the program.  Being able to show them a glimpse into why I love my program was important to me,” Brooke says.

“I absolutely love that Brooke has had the opportunity to provide personalized tours to our department’s prospective students,” department chair Amy Weaver-Kaulis commented on Brooke serving as a representative as a student ambassador. “I must admit that I am a bit saddened that she will not be on campus next year to continue her role as an ambassador. She is a bright, genuine, and personable young woman who exemplifies the type of students we hope to attract to our program.”

So, is Brooke sad it’s over? “Not really…I had a great experience and am so glad I did it.  But it feels good to know I put in my work and can move on from it.”

It’s not totally over though.  Outgoing student ambassadors have one last event to partake in before truly graduating out of the club: The Roast.  Underclassman student ambassadors have the opportunity to gather embarrassing stories, pictures, and videos of each retiring member to then present for a boisterous audience at a downtown Erie bar.  Although Brooke will be subject to the ridicule this year, “It’s all in good fun,” she says, “I’m actually excited to see what they put together.”

Two and a half years of tours, events, early mornings, and finding outfits that fit the ambassador dress code while still matching that stunning green blazer and, “I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience,” Brooke says, “Tt will be a part of my college years that I will never forget.”

Marissa Peltz, '17

Mediocre joke-teller, friends enthusiast, Chipotle lover. Talents include: touching every dog that passes me, offering sarcastic comments in awkward situations, and using instagram filters to disguise the fact that I'm pale as a ghost.