2010/2/26 Pierros Papadeas <ppapadeas(a)gmail.com>:
Following our last EMEA Ambassadors Meeting  (meeting log ) I
would like to share
the synopsis of the things said on "Campus Ambassadors group" issue
during the meeting.
Bert Desmet (now "Campus Ambassadors" president) was there to answer
some of our questions,
but we think that the scope of this discussion is much wider, so here
I am summarizing
the Q/As made in our meeting.
First, congratulations to Bert and a big thank you to you and your
peers for taking ownership of this.
I will make some remarks below that reflect my opinions about various
things but I think it is really important that the parameters of the
program be defined and driven by the campus ambassadors who will
ultimately make this successful with their efforts.
Q: How broad is the definition of campus? universities only?
A: More meant for college / uni students
I would say high school and above is the target audience but we would
expect most activity at the university level.
Q: Who can become a Campus Ambassador? Do you have to be an
A: No, you don't have to be an ambassador (but you need to have the
cla done, and you
have to be in college / university / some other school)
I agree with this. I think the bar for entry should be lower than for
an Ambassador to begin with however I expect there will initially be a
lot of Ambassadors who also are Campus Ambassadors and I hope there
are a lot of new Campus Ambassadors who later join the Ambassador
program and continue their work with us after or during their time in
Q: Universities or Schools? (concerning the scope i guess)
A: Schools count too :)
Q: There is gonna be a special group in FAS?
A: There is already one 
Q: How far does the campus ambassador program differ from the "normal" one?
A: That's one of the things we still have to clarify in the next meetings
Let's walk through the reasons identified for the existence of a
Campus Ambassador program.
* To build up individual Fedora communities on campuses, and provide
resources for students to organize events and contribute their code
and ideas to Fedora.
Outsiders (ambassadors who are not students) cannot possibly be as
effective as insiders (students) at building these campus communities.
* To help students network with other open source and Fedora
contributors, and lay the groundwork for potential summer internships.
Here is where Fedora can positively impact new young contributors.
* To create a fun and exciting network of passionate, dedicated people
to spearhead Fedora's presence on college campuses.
People like me stopping in for a talk about Fedora at a local High
School or college will never have the persistent impact that can be
achieved through students on those campuses being engaged and active.
* To work with faculty and students both to promote free and open
source software on campus.
Engagement of faculty is I think one of the long term high impact
benefits of this program. And I think engaging faculty is far more
likely to occur with the daily interaction between faculty and bright,
engaged, and enthusiastic students than it could be with hit and run
visits from people outside those institutions.
Q: Bert, who elected you? (As the president of Campus group)
A: The people who attended last meeting ;)
Congratulations again Bert!
Q: So the approach is the same as Ambassadors with smaller scope?
A: Indeed :)
The scope is big, but the focus is smaller.
Q: I don't really get why we need "campusambassadors"?
do that as well? And how will you ensure that "campusambassadors" are
A: Well, we will be more 'specialized', and we will also try to have
good 'quality control' on the people
I have tried above to give some reasons I think students can achieve
the stated goals better than non-students can. My hope and expectation
is that new campus ambassadors will hang around with old ones and
learn from them. Regular meetings and places on irc for campus
ambassadors to exchange ideas with each other and learn about Fedora
will help all involved grow.
(All answers were given by Bert)
Also some points were made from fellow ambassadors, like :
* They are welcome to do it within Ambassadors and use our mentoring
approach (Joerg Simon)
* There is a huge difference between schools and universities, so I
think, it is needed to have
special skilled people to deliver the thought of FOSS to the student
(Sascha Thomas Spreitzer)
* We aim from high school students to older ones (Bert Desmet)
* I think we have great examples of Students who follow this approach,
I think personally that they
all can live within the Ambassadors Group (Joerg Simon)
* There is an danger that we cause new management overhead with
another ambassador group (Joerg Simon)
I agree with Joerg in this concern. There is a danger but I see an
upside too. If we leave the management to the campus ambassadors (the
old guys are here to help and advise if our help is desired) they will
learn a lot about community management as well. Watching Max and Paul
makes community management look easy. It isn't as all of us who have
bitten off a little piece to chew on know. But I think doing this will
make the campus ambassador leadership more valuable to the Fedora
Project in the future and will better prepare them for whatever lies
ahead in life.
As you can see many questions were made and some of them fall
the scope of Ambassadors.
Given the fact that the new Campus Ambassador group resembles a lot to
our Ambassadors group, it
would be nice if we could have some discussion/opinions on this
subject from Ambassadors throughout the world.
My personal opinion is that we do not need a different group for this
kind of job, and we could rather organize
Ambassador-SIGs (Special Interest Groups) with different scopes but
all within Ambassadors' way of doing things
(mentoring, infrastructure, budget etc).
To work with faculty and students both to promote free and open source software on campus
Whether we think of the campus ambassadors as a group or a SIG or
whatever doesn't much matter to me. What matters is having people like
Bert step up, get clear on the goals, and make stuff happen. This is a
really exciting program to a lot of us and I want it to succeed as
much as anyone. I have decided the best way for that to happen is for
me not to meddle too much in it. Those who have a vested interest in
its outcome, the campus ambassadors themselves, need to be the
engineers on this train for it to leave the station and start rolling
down the track.