This process increases students’ agency and advocacy, as they play a vital role in ensuring educational content is accessible, supportive and useful and at the same time it is providing paid employment for our current students.

“Co-designing the Gateway Winter program with Ambassadors ensures that the content is relevant to the students we work with. Ambassadors are also studying digitally, and they can share personal experiences of remote learning and strategies to make the most of it for current HSC students. This student-centred approach allows us to build a program that is relevant to and directly responds to the needs of high school students,” says Mary Teague, Director of Access and Equity

This experience also allows Ambassadors to develop positive relationships with other students, University staff and high school students. Many university students are missing out on the complete University experience due to online and remote learning. To counter this, the UNSW Ambassador program works in groups to collaborate on program design, leading students to develop relationships with each other outside of their online course delivery. Many Ambassadors report that these small groups work as a peer support network, where they can discuss experiences and topics outside of work and study and these relationships are a vital part of their connection and university experience. Fifth year B. Arts/Law student Flora Wu is one ambassador who is taking on a key leadership role in the program.

“It’s a great opportunity for me to not only be an active role model for students from similar socioeconomic backgrounds as myself, but to also develop my own confidence and skills in public speaking and leadership. I have made many great friends and networks with ambassadors and staff who are all very supportive and genuine in their commitment for equity.”

But these interpersonal relationships are just one key benefit of the Ambassador program. Collaborating with student Ambassadors to develop education content enriches their graduate capabilities as rigorous scholars, capable of leadership and professional practice in an international community. Ambassadors who co-design the UNSW Gateway Winter program build skills in respecting diversity and acting in a socially just and responsible way.\

“My experience as a group leader is enabling me to discover what kind of communicator and leader I am and know the areas where I can improve in to be an effective leader for the future. Being a group lead has definitely given me the confidence and inspiration to know that I am capable and competent of leading groups now and in the future.” Says Flora

Co-designing programs with University student Ambassadors develops graduate capabilities, and provides employment to students, who, financially, are some of the hardest hit as a result of isolation and COVID-19. Learn more about UNSW Gateway.