Connecting Seahawks Past, Present and Future


Camille Bayer

There’s no party like a Seahawk party. The UNC Wilmington Involvement Carnival is the definition of a Seahawk party with more than 200 of the school’s student organizations and campus departments at one of UNCW’s most recognizable traditions.

One of the many tents dotting the space around the UNCW Amphitheater in August during this year’s event was for the Student Ambassadors. The official hosts of university, the Student Ambassadors work closely with the Division for University Advancement and the UNCW Alumni Association to proudly serve and connect Seahawks past, present and future.

This year’s Student Ambassador president Camille Bayer has spent much of her time on campus being involved, building relationships and promoting the Seahawk experience.

“I actually knew when I toured the university that I wanted to become a Student Ambassador,” Bayer explained. “I applied as soon as I could. It was the first thing I became involved with on campus. When I was on my flight home for Thanksgiving my freshman year, I was on the same flight as another Student Ambassador and they recognized me. I still remember that. I immediately felt important to somebody else.”

Camille Bayer with friends

That feeling, and the desire to pass it on to the next person on campus, has motivated much of Bayer’s Seahawk experience. From her time within the UNCW Honors College to her studying abroad to her experience in the field as a result of her Watson College of Education elementary education major, she is learning, connecting and sharing.

“Within the Honors College, it’s so nice having staff and students who you know and who love and support you,” Bayer said. “We are a group of students who have some of the same goals and are going through such similar academic experiences. Some of us are doing really hard things, but I know I have friends who are doing the same hard things. It’s so nice to have that connection and be able to talk to each other.”

Alongside her Honors College peers, Bayer has been able to take advantage of some UNCW student experiences like no other by making five trips: London, Italy, Denmark, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

“Every one of those trips has been amazing,” Bayer said. “It’s so cool to go with professors and students who you already know. It makes the trip feel small and familiar, but the experience is incredible.”

While not every Seahawk who arrives at UNCW knows exactly what they want their major and potential career path to be, Bayer knew from the beginning she wanted to be a teacher. The Watson College of Education being a separate academic entity on campus, and not enveloped into another college, was one of the key factors in her decision to enroll at UNCW.

“My teacher in kindergarten and first grade was the same. I just knew I wanted to be her when I grew up,” Bayer said. “I’ve never thought twice about it. Within Watson, the college does such a good job of not teaching just the textbook but teaching creativity and having control over your classroom. They’ve been really responsive to everything that is changing. That has been a huge help. They know how hard is to be a teacher right now. But they also know it’s what we want to do. They’ve just done it the right way.”

The experiences and connections Bayer made on campus allow her to start relationships with former Seahawks. As part of her Student Ambassador role, she is often present at UNCW Alumni Association events and greeting attendees.

The Student Ambassadors also serve as the hosts for Oozeball, an annual mud volleyball tournament held in the spring that is another beloved tradition on UNCW’s campus.

“Last year during one of our meetings, we were able to meet the alum who started Oozeball,” Bayer said. “He told us how it got started and what went into it, which is incredible because now the event is so well known it almost runs itself. It was so cool to see how much work went into starting this.”

Within Watson, the college does such a good job of not teaching just the textbook but teaching creativity and having control over your classroom. They’ve been really responsive to everything that is changing."

Whether through events or connections, the work of the Student Ambassadors mirrors that of UNCW as a whole. The institution is celebrating its 75th anniversary this academic year with much to celebrate. There is also much work still ahead to continue to provide excellent educational opportunities.

“Students today are doing everything they can to get the most out of what has been given, especially by alumni,” Bayer said. “Students are working hard to make sure their futures are better, and that UNCW’s future is even brighter. That’s something I’ve seen hands on, but also something I see day-to-day in the campus community.”

As both the institution and Student Ambassadors aim to strengthen the institution’s future, the goal of this year’s group is to bridge the gap between alumni and current students. The Student Ambassadors want to make it less intimidating to be an active alumni.

It’s time for another Seahawk party – this time with all alumni welcome with open arms to become engaged and involved with UNCW. 

Creating connections between alumni and UNCW is a priority in UNCW’s ongoing comprehensive campaign, Like No Other: The Campaign for UNCW. For more information on the UNCW Alumni Association, or for ways to volunteer, click here.