Webster Student Appointed Chair of National Student Ambassador Organization

Fernando is the First St. Louis-area Student to Serve as Both Regional Representative and Chair of the National Board

Suhani FernandoST. LOUIS (March 6, 2014) - Suhani Fernando, a student ambassador at Webster University, was appointed as the chair to the Executive Board for Council for Advancement and Support of Education Affiliated Student Advancement Programs (CASE ASAP). CASE ASAP is a national organization that comprises student ambassador programs, student alumni associations, student foundations and similar organizations at more than 300 educational institutions.  It is affiliated with the international CASE organization.

Fernando, a junior economics major, currently serves as the CASE ASAP District 6 representative on the executive board, making her the first student from any St. Louis area college or university to serve both as the regional representative and chair of the national board. She learned of the appointment in late February.

"I am absolutely excited to work as the CASE ASAP Executive Board chair for the 2014-2015 year,” Fernando said. “I am determined to work closely with all the other representatives and the CASE ASAP program manager to develop the organization for the better."

Fernando, an international student from Sri Lanka, said her appointment represents a major personal accomplishment, as it demonstrates her growth as an individual and as a leader since she began her studies in St. Louis. She said her new position will bring greater recognition to Webster’s ambassador program, as she will be able to network more closely with major organizations and schools around the country.

The appointment is the product of the hard work of all the ambassadors who helped found Webster University’s program four years ago, said Billy Ratz, Webster’s student ambassador advisor. Before the Webster ambassadors, the University had the Student Alumni Association (SAA), which served as one of more than 60 student organizations on the Webster Groves campus at the time.

“When President Stroble started at Webster, she approached me about starting an ambassador program here and it was decided that it would replace our SAA since they had similar missions,” Ratz said. “Now in our fourth year of existence, we have won two CASE ASAP District 6 Awards and our students have presented seven different times at CASE ASAP conferences. The fact that our program has only been around for four years and is now in our position of leadership within CASE ASAP is big accomplishment.”

The purpose of the student ambassadors is to serve as the official student representatives for Webster University's President's Office and Office of Alumni and Development Programs. The student ambassadors work with collegiate and administrative offices to greet and converse with constituents, government officials, donors, and other dignitaries during University sponsored educational and social events. This organization showcases the quality and diversity of the student body, promotes pride, and communicates understanding of the university. The student ambassadors are also tasked with educating the general student body in giving back in time, talent and treasure to the university as students and eventually as alumni.

During the last four years, both undergrad and grad students, including non-traditional students in their 40s, have served as ambassadors. The students have come from communities around the world and have included both traditional residential students and commuters. 

Fernando has been the ASAP District 6 Representative for Webster and other universities in the Mid-West region for the past year. This year, the Webster University Student Ambassadors will host the 41st Annual CASE ASAP National Network Convention in St. Louis. She submitted an application for the executive board chair earlier this year and was selected from the four returning district representatives.

While on the board, Fernando hopes to strengthen relationships between programs at different universities and improve communications with regional CASE boards.