Many students at UR may know seniors Jane Irving and Madeline Miller, but not necessarily by their names.
“Now people kind of associate us as the ‘Bumble girls,’” Irving said.
Irving and Miller are among a handful of students who serve as campus ambassadors at UR. Senior Madison Sweitzer and sophomore Emma Alvarez recently followed in the footsteps of the “Bumble girls” and became campus ambassadors this semester for L.L. Bean and Ginger Juice, respectively.
The “Bumble girls” have been ambassadors for the social and dating app for a year now. As ambassadors, they find creative ways to promote the use of Bumble on campus.
The pair emphasized that Bumble is not just used to find dating matches, as most people assume. Instead, there are also business and friendship modes on the app, called Bumble Bizz and Bumble BFF, that allow users to find working connections and new friends. A major part of Irving and Miller’s job is to raise awareness about the various versions available.
The friendship mode, in particular, allows different groups on campus to integrate, Miller said.
“On campus … we all kind of have a group that we tend to stick to, and it’s hard to merge those groups," Miller said. "But using the app you can meet people you wouldn’t have met in your classes, you wouldn’t have met in your athletic group or Greek life.”
Both Miller and Irving said working with Bumble and using the app had expanded their network on campus, helping them to get to know more people and see the different business opportunities that were available.
“It’s kind of made like a little community here for people who are interested in it,” Irving added.
Each month, Bumble headquarters sends Miller and Irving a task list. In the list, they are given social media jobs, where they must post pictures that advertise the app and its events, and community outreach activities, such as Bumble Bar Tab and coffee break events, that they must complete in the following weeks. They are also given a budget for providing things such as food at their events.
Bumble sends them merchandise to give away to UR students as well. One of their events this semester included a bar tab at Sticky Rice where Bumble sponsored one drink for each person who attended, and Irving and Miller handed out bandanas, stickers and other merchandise.
“People love free stuff and that’s a lot of what Bumble does,” Irving said. “Hosting bar tabs is one of the most unique parts of the program, and it’s allowed us to communicate directly with the staff at UR landmarks like Tucan and Sticky Rice. I’m on a first-name basis with Al, the bar manager at Sticky [Rice].”
Bumble reached out to different influencers on campus, including alumna Michele Lee, last year to recruit UR students as Bumble campus ambassadors, Irving said. Irving heard about the position in a GroupMe message, and Lee directly contacted Miller about it. They both then decided to apply for the semester-long position last year and have continued to apply each semester since.
Beyond the perks of getting to meet new people, working alongside their best friends, receiving merchandise and being paid as Bumble campus ambassadors, both of them enjoy the position because they genuinely admire the intention of the app.
“I really like what the app supports,” Miller said. “And I really like that it’s a company led by a woman. The CEO is really cool and did a lot of cool things to develop the app.”
Irving agreed and said that she would continue to be an ambassador even if she did not get paid.
“Being an ambassador has made me want to use [Bumble] more,” Irving said.
Bumble is not the only company represented on UR’s campus. Sweitzer accepted a position to become a campus ambassador for L.L. Bean this fall semester.
Like Miller and Irving’s work with Bumble, Sweitzer’s job is to advertise for L.L. Bean on campus and through social media. “It’s really cool to get to be the face of that for a semester,” she said.
Newbridge, a marketing group that partners with L.L. Bean, reached out to Sweitzer through Instagram this summer and encouraged her to apply to be a campus ambassador.
“It honestly just seemed like such a fun thing to be involved in,” she said. “I love doing outdoorsy stuff: I love to run, I love to hike. Its products are things that I would be interested in having and wearing anyway.”
Her responsibilities vary, but as an L.L. Bean campus ambassador, she is expected to do two social media posts about the brand every week, she said. During the 10-week position, Sweitzer must also visit three different UR clubs to talk about the company, hold three tabling events and help with any other advertising events, such as the mobile pop-up shop that was held on campus last month.
On Nov. 30, a L.L. Bean mobile pop-up shop arrived on campus to sell its merchandise at discounted prices, but students were not the only ones who enjoyed the event.
While helping run the event, Sweitzer noticed faculty and community members coming up to the truck who were just as interested in the pop-up shop as students.
Sweitzer said working as a campus ambassador was a cool way to learn about the company, meet people from other schools through their Facebook group and conference calls and gain business experience. L.L. Bean also gives her clothing items and merchandise to use for the photos and social media posts, which she then gets to keep.
Sweitzer said she was paid by L.L. Bean for this job, but it didn't feel like work because it was so enjoyable and she could create her own hours. “It almost feels more like an extracurricular type of commitment," she said. "It’s just something fun that you can do. … It fits really well into a student’s lifestyle, which I think is the goal.”
Alvarez is a campus ambassador at UR for Ginger Juice. Ginger Juice’s ambassador program just started this fall, and although Alvarez is not paid for her work, she said she really enjoyed working with the company and gaining business experience for her marketing major.
Ginger Juice advertised on Instagram that it was looking for campus ambassadors, and Alvarez messaged the company about working with it. After Alvarez expressed her interest and went to an in-person meeting, Ginger Juice invited her back to become one of its first campus ambassadors at UR.
Alvarez’s responsibilities are very similar to those of the “Bumble girls” and Sweitzer. She posts a few times a week to advertise for Ginger Juice, using hashtags such as #URGingerTribe, and then hands out membership cards and coupons.
“[Being an ambassador] essentially means getting the word out where they can’t,” she said. “My job is to market their brand and business and make it very attainable to college students.”
As Sweitzer mentioned, Alvarez appreciates what her company stands for and represents.
“I think their message and products are really good,” she said. “One of my interests is nutrition and health, and that’s something I haven’t really been able to find like a place on campus for. … So I thought that this program kind of combined all of those interests.”
Working as a campus ambassador has not only given her immense marketing experience and a place to explore her interests, but it has also made her feel empowered, Alvarez said.
“I get really happy discussing it with others and getting to share the brand and my passion for it,” she said. “When I can reach out and give them the discount and … they visit the storefront, I feel like I’m really influencing not only their brand but the community as well.”
When asked about the negative aspects of being a campus ambassador for these companies, all of the ambassadors had very little to say. Alvarez mentioned that it was harder than she expected, but only because she has to schedule when she posts on Instagram now.
Irving and the others urged that more UR students should look into becoming campus ambassadors. “[Bumble] applications for the spring are due Dec. 15,” she said.
Contact co-features editor Melanie Lippert at firstname.lastname@example.org.