|Allison Jarrett and Sarin Marsing, CEU Ambassadors, hold some of the pigs they and their fellow students use to collect money while around town. The money that is taken in is being used to build an endowment scholarship for future students.|
Some students from the College of Eastern Utah are carrying around little pink pigs and collecting money in them.
It isn't a scam or a new way for poor students to beg. Those students are called the CEU ambassadors and they are for real.
"We recruit students to be our ambassadors when they get here," said Todd Olsen, director of admissions and scholarships. "Once they have done that they have kind of sold their soul to us for the two years they are here."
The student ambassadors are recruiters for the college; they give campus tours, spend time at high school college fair days and go out into their various communities to explain to potential students the benefits of attending the college.
"They can talk to them better than we can," said Olsen. "They speak the high school students language; they are going through what those kids will be going through."
This year there are over 20 ambassadors on the campus and they are on scholarships for doing so. But in many ways the commitment doesn't end when students graduate from CEU. Olsen says over the nine years the program has been in place, over 200 students have been in the ambassadors program.
"To this day many of them are still out there recruiting for the college, sending students here every year," he noted. "It's about legacy."
The pink pigs are a fund raising device for recruitment. They were originally used as a promotion for Eastern Utah Credit Union at their location and they then donated them to the college for the ambassadors use. Students carry them around and get people to donate their extra change. The money is deposited into an account to be used as an endowment fund and will eventually be used to fund two scholarships.
"We have a total of 10 pigs," said Olsen with a smile. "Six are presently in operation."
For colleges today, recruitment is one of the major obstacles they face in keeping their campus' going. All over the nation college enrollment is falling and in Utah most of the public colleges have less students this year than last. Many people coming out of high school go right into jobs, largely because the employment market is so hot right now. Some students who would have previously attended college are now in the work force. So every potential student is a gold nugget to colleges and they all have groups similar to the CEU ambassadors out there working for them to gather that treasure.
Allison Jarrett and Sarin Marsing are two examples of the ambassadors CEU has. Jarrett is from Hyde Park (in the Cache Valley) and Marsing hails from West Jordan. Both are full time students at CEU and work to recruit new students at the college fairs, in their home towns and other places.
"I like telling people about CEU," said Jarrett. "It's a good place to go to school."
Olsen says that bringing students to CEU benefits not only the school but the entire community, economically and socially.
So far the pigs have raised about $500 this year. And Olsen says it is amazing how fast money adds up when everyone donates a little.
"I took a pig to one of the Bread n' Soup nights," he said. "By the time I got through collecting change from people at the event we had $95 in the pig I was holding."