Pomona Students Promote Google as Ambassadors

Students gathered on Walker Beach this past week for “Play with Your Food,” an ice cream social designed to promote Google’s cloud-based media service Google Play. The event featured streaming music, raffles and free Google merchandise.

Google is reaching out to Pomona College students through its Google Student Ambassadors, Joshua Rodriguez PO ’13 and Kimberly Merrill PO ’14, who organized last week's Google Play event and plan to organize events throughout the school year to promote Google products and services.

“I think we had a good turnout. I think we had 60 people,” Rodriguez said. "We wanted to say, 'Hey, we're back in school, we're trying to promote Google throughout the year.'"

The purpose of the program is to have students who can be the voice of Google on campus, Merrill said. The ambassadors' goal is not only to bring Google products to students' attention, but also to inform Google of any concerns students have with certain products.

“If people are telling us they don't like this feature about this product, then we can pass that information along,” Merrill said. "The idea is to have students teaching students."

“They're really looking for internal people to be ambassadors, to be on campus and promote that ‘Google-y’ culture and promote products and the goodwill of Google,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez and Merrill said that although they are working with Google, they are “really on [their] own free rein" to promote Google.

“We are here to talk about the products, but we're not here to sell you things,” Merrill said. “That's not really our role.”

The ambassadors plan to host five to ten events throughout the course of the year, with at least two more scheduled for this semester.

Merrill said that she would like to hold an event focused on computer science.

“I was thinking of doing some kind of tutorial about Google developers or Chrome development tools or some Google API,” she said.

Merrill also said that she is interested in hosting a scavenger hunt-style event focused on the service Google Map Maker.

Merrill and Rodriguez became Google ambassadors after holding summer internships with Google and applying to the Student Ambassadors program. The program is open to all student interns, as well as to students who are recommended by a current ambassador at their college.

“We're going to be more and more present throughout the year,” Rodriguez said. “We really want to promote ‘Googliness’ to other people, and just raise awareness.”

Merrill and Rodriguez conceptualize and organize each of the events themselves from start to finish. They keep in contact with a group of Google employees, but these employees' role is to advise the ambassadors rather than to preside over them.

“I think the biggest thing for us is that we believe in the products,” Rodriguez said.