Cornell student 'ambassadors' help others 'adhere' to COVID-19 'Behavioral Compact'

Participants can become one of two types of ambassadors who will encourage others to ahere to the "Behavioral Compact."

Cornell will implement a COVID-19 Ambassador Program to promote its health guidelines.

Cornell University announced the implementation of a new Student Ambassador Program aimed at recruiting student volunteers to encourage others to "adhere" to the university’s COVID-19 guidelines, known as the "Cornell Student Behavioral Compact."

The undergraduate and graduate volunteer program is described as aiming to “create a safer campus environment” upon returning to campus by promoting the university’s health guidelines, which include virus screenings, quarantine procedures, mask-wearing, and social distancing measures.

Those who choose to participate can become one of two types of ambassadors. The first is a 1-2 hour per week position, called "Peer Ambassadors," who will distribute “digital campaign messages via organizational networks and/or personal social media networks” and serve “as role models for adhering to the Behavioral Compact and public health guidelines with peers, groups, teams, organizations, and via social media networks.”

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Students who are approved to be on campus as part of the ambassador program will also volunteer at “public health campaign tents” to hand out masks, hand sanitizers, and other personal protective equipment.

The second option is to become a “COVID-19 Peer Consultant,” in which volunteers will participate in a “student think tank” that asks students to collaborate and identify “risky dynamics” relating to COVID-19 within their social circles and clubs.

Student Peer Consultants will also "reimagine" how to hold traditional in other ways to slow the spread of COVID-19.

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Cornell's reactivation plan states that students who fail to obey guidelines will “face sanctions from limitations on their ability to access buildings or the university’s online systems to suspension or expulsion.”

Cornell University student Samuel Kim told Campus Reform that he thinks the program is a great idea.

“This is a fantastic initiative created by the University’s administration,” Kim said. “In both the university and real-world settings, leading by example is more likely to change behavior than mandates or policies.”

However, Kim is skeptical that sanctions against students who violate the guidelines will be effective.

“Despite the measures the university has put in place, I am skeptical as to whether they will limit the spread of the virus. On my social media pages, I have seen people even during the height of the pandemic socializing without masks and not social distancing,” Kim said. “That said, I do hope that students will abide by the guidelines, and I am cautiously optimistic,” he added.

When contacted about the program, a Cornell spokesperson directed Campus Reform to a webpage outlining its public health campaign.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Jess__Custodio