By: Mollie Lastovica
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will have four representatives on the Texas A&M Foundation’s Maroon Coats, filling a void of two years without COALS members in the elite organization.
Two of those newly selected members are members of the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications. Junior agricultural communications and journalism student Jordan Symon and senior agribusiness major Deanna Bosse, who will begin her Master’s in ALEC in the fall, will serve the Foundation and the College of Agriculture Development Council as Maroon Coats until their respective graduations.
“Maroon Coats are the student ambassadors for the university and the Texas A&M Foundation that represent different majors and organizations across campus,” Symon said. “We all share the same passion for our school and we strive to advocate for it.”
As Maroon Coats, the girls will give at least 20 hours of service per semester to both Foundation and College sponsored events and activities by representing the university as student ambassadors. They meet bi-weekly as a collective body and are integral to events such as the President’s Endowed Scholarship Reception and the Legacy Society Gala.
“We have an important job of representing the students who receive aid through the Foundation to their donors,” Bosse said. “Donors enjoy making personal connections with students, learning what we are interested in and hearing our stories. This gives them a tangible connection to the benefit of their giving to the University.”
Those who have been part of Maroon Coats since its genesis can attest to the necessity of the organization.
“The Maroon Coats are the student arm of the Texas A&M Foundation,” said Maroon Coats Adviser Shannon Zwernemann. “Dr. [Ed] Davis wanted a group of qualified students to be able to interact with the major donors to the University, attend Foundation and college events to speak to donors and to spread word to the current student body about what the Foundation does.”
The selection process for Maroon Coats is rigorous and includes an application, social interview and formal interview. The 2013 selection began in January and ended mid-February and 18 new members were chosen out of a total 193 applicants.
“Having the opportunity to represent the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Texas A&M is a blessing,” Symon said. “I can’t wait to share my love for agriculture and this university to donors.”
Bosse, an officer for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Student Council, believes that having Maroon Coat representatives from the college is essential.
“Having Maroon Coats in COALS is important for our donors and students,” Bosse said. “They hnow have a great representation of what they are contributing money to on a University-level. This gives our college a great public appearance and makes us much more visible. In the future, this may prompt donors to increase their giving to COALS programs and hopefully attract new donors.”
While their service is already underway, Symon and Bosse will continue to represent COALS and the Texas A&M Maroon Coats throughout their respective undergraduate and graduate tenures.
“I have spent four years at this amazing University,” Bosse said. “I have been involved in many different student organizations and met a lot of amazing people over this time. However, I would never have had time to do all of this without donor support to help finance my education. Not having to worry about paying for school has allowed me to have time to make a difference for Texas A&M. After a wonderful four years, it is time to say thank you to all of those people who have helped me along the way and to give a voice of gratitude to donors from the student body.”
Current and former Maroon Coats alike tell countless stories of the impact their interaction with donors has made on the Foundation and the university.
“We are proof that Texas A&M is still the fantastic community of excellence that it has always been,” said Tyler Stewart, MSC President and current Maroon Coat. “Our former students don’t always have immediate connections here and we serve as their connection. By displaying the core values of our university to the best of our ability, we Maroon Coats prove to the world that A&M is still a place of loyalty, leadership, integrity, honor, respect and selfless service.”