The University of Colorado Boulder and the Boulder Convention & Visitor’s Bureau (along with the Boulder Downtown partnership, The Hill Boulder, and The City of Boulder) have collaborated on a peer-to-peer ambassador program for Thursday – Saturday nights from 9pm – 11pm on The University Hill commercial district as well as Downtown Boulder. The program aims to provide positive messaging towards students in support of public health directives as well as collect important data on visitors to the selected area (such as masked vs. unmasked visitors). This new program officially launched on October 22nd..
An important tool for the recruitment of ambassadors was utilizing the already established Neighborhood Ambassador program in the CU Off-Campus Housing & Neighborhood Relations Office, as well as combining funds from the Neighborhood Ambassador and Boulder Convention & Visitor’s Bureau ambassador programs to offer a more enticing hourly salary. Student ambassadors were also provided training developed by CU for effective peer-to-peer communication during COVID. Ambassadors are also provided a stock of reusable masks to provide to students that arrived to the area without a mask.
In the first weekend of the program, the student ambassadors engaged with over 100 students and tallied between 200-300 visitors a night for the Hill alone. A positive observation of the program is that many students that were maskless when passing the ambassador table would be seen putting on their masks, especially if they had a brief interaction with an ambassador. This observance is an early indication that the program will have a benefit to the community, as it was also witnessed that only about 50% of visitors wearing masks when walking about outdoors on the busy Hill commercial district.
This innovative collaboration will continue for the Fall semester until the university shifts to a fully remote schedule in late November.