After spending so many years focused on potential students, Shana Bender Circe ’02 ’06g (Visual Arts Education) sees her appointment to the Alumni Advisory Council as a unique opportunity to tell the New Paltz story to a different audience – alumni rather than prospective undergraduates.
“I feel so honored to get an opportunity to serve on this council because I was so involved as a student and a faculty member here,” said Circe, director of on-campus recruitment and the Welcome Center at SUNY New Paltz. “I’m really excited to be a part of the evolution of how alumni feel about the College; that is a really exciting prospect to me.”
In her current position, Circe employs her first-hand knowledge as a former student ambassador to effectively present the College experience to prospective students and alumni. She now supervises the student ambassador program and facilitates all of the logistics for event planning for campus visits and Open House. She works with 32 different students on a given day and meets with prospective and accepted students regularly as a counselor.
“We interact on the front lines; we’re the first impression,” said Circe. “As ambassadors, students are the embodiment of all that New Paltz is. When prospective students look at ambassadors, they are going to judge everything about the campus on how you interact with them.”
Stressing the importance of going above and beyond, Circe encourages her staff to guarantee that the College experience accurately resonates with visitors. She now sees how that portrayal enhances alumni experiences as well.
“I now think of incoming students as potential alumni,” said Circe. “On the council we’re cultivating this sense of being alumni, and being part of a much bigger picture.”
As a student, Circe served as a resident assistant and student ambassador and worked on the student government. For her, these experiences were just as important as her academic experience, preparing her for professional life at the College.
“I realize on a daily basis that I draw on the skills I learned as a student ambassador,” said Circe. “Students may not realize it while they are in that position, but they are learning how to be in front of people, how to take social cues, and that’s going to serve them well later on.”