A little into our background…
On August 2014, a group of long-time contributors got together under the team name FSA E-Board with the goal to regroup and rebuild the Firefox Student Ambassadors Program. Community contributors banded together to help expand the program regionally under the names Regional Ambassador Leads. With E-Board, RALs and existing Ambassadors and their Firefox Clubs, we set out to continue spreading Mozlove at universities and college campuses all around the world. It has officially been a year since then and we want to share with you where we are today and where we want to go.
What is the FSA program?
The Firefox Student Ambassadors program exists to empower students with the tools and resources needed to:
- Promote Firefox (Desktop and Android) & Firefox OS in communities (and campuses!) around the world
- Educate others about Mozilla’s mission
- Teach the web and increase web literacy
- Do good and change the world
Who are Firefox Student Ambassadors?
Firefox Student Ambassadors are individuals who are passionate about Mozilla, the open web, and the many benefits of Firefox and its products. Creative and resourceful, FSAs lead campaigns and projects at their colleges and in their communities to encourage others to contribute to Mozilla’s mission and utilize our products.
Groups of Ambassadors work together to create Firefox Clubs at their college/university. Together, they strive to keep the power of the Web in hands of users everywhere.
How are we different?
Firefox Student Ambassadors is an open volunteer program that empowers students to be self-starters. While any student at an university or college can join, only those who contribute and follow through program activities gets recognized and experience fully the personal and career development opportunities of the program. We strive to provide students with the leadership knowledge, network, resources and tools needed to make an impact at their university that expands beyond product promotion.
Why the FSA Program is important to the growth of Mozilla?
Students are passionate, curious, and actively seeking out new opportunities to exercise their skills and lead others. They are Mozilla’s on-the-ground marketers and the best referral team. Their reach at an university spans to thousands of students. For Mozilla, the program is:
- The first touchpoint for many Firefox users & fans to deepen their commitment to Mozilla
- Amping online and offline word-of-mouth efforts for our products, mission, and values
- The source of on-the-ground support for campaign and product launches
- Cultivating and retaining the next generation of young & passionate contributors
- Building new and vibrant communities around the world, even places where no previous community existed
Why the FSA Program is important to students?
“The FSA program taught me to be a good coordinator, a leader and a helper alike. It provided me with ways of contributing and keeping in touch with something I’m really in love with. Moreover, it boosted my self-confidence and also made me aware of the huge world of Open Source Technology.“
– Ranodeep Saha, FSA Senior
Student Ambassadors are given the opportunity to learn new skills, earn recognition, and advance their leadership in not just the Mozilla community, but in their school and local community. The program gives back to students entering the program with:
- Ample leadership development and team building skills
- Marketing experience in the fields of event planning, social media, and more
- Exposure to participation in both technical and nontechnical contribution pathways
- Connection to a strong network of contributors from their region and around the world
- Knowledge and understanding in what it means and takes to build a better internet committed to privacy, and an open web
How students are making an impact:
“I conducted a MozMaker event at Bharati Vidyapeeth Jawaharlal Nehru Institute of Technology for 150+ girls to introduce them to our browser, features, and most importantly, to encourage women participation.” – Prasad Seth, FSA
Firefox Club at AAST, Egypt presenting about the history, releases, and features of our browser.
With thousands of Ambassadors banded together to promote openness, opportunity, and innovation on the Web, they’re contributing and making an impact on Mozilla’s mission and initiatives. Just some things include:
- Supporters and referrers of marketing campaigns and programs including the recent Firefox 10th Anniversary, Firefox Hello, and #FoxYeah.
- Hosting hundreds of informational and participatory events such as Mozilla Introduction Session, App Hackathons, Maker Parties, WoMoz Participation, Web Security Workshops, and more.
- Development of 100+ quality apps with thousands of downloads to the marketplace, see full list here, and some top picks here.
- Ambassadors are contributors of existing volunteer-based programs including L10n, Firefox Friends, QA, SUMO, One and Done, Mozilla Science, MLS, MDN. Many of them are now core members of these contribution pathways – bringing all that they learn back to their universities.
- Starting, building, and growing new Mozilla communities around the world. Example, a student starting Mozilla Tirupati Community.
- Encouraging women participation in tech, worldwide. #WoMoz pride!
- Spreading web literacy from urban cities to rural regions.
…and these Firefox Student Ambassadors are just getting started.
What we’ve accomplished in the past year:
- Building community
- The Firefox Student Ambassadors Program, aside from one staff, is a community-run program made up of six Executive Board members, fourteen Regional Ambassador Leads, 154 officially registered Firefox Clubs (in just the last few months), 560 students in process to becoming Club Leads, and hundreds of student supporters. We are so grateful to have connected and built out a program structure consisting of passionate community members. Today they are the heart and soul of our program’s growth.
- Integrated Marketing
- The Firefox Student Ambassadors Program, under the Community Marketing Team, comes up with interactive and fun activity for our Ambassadors to engage it during every campaign. For example, Firefox Hello with our Say Hello Challenge & Foxyeah online and offline, and Firefox for Win10. Our Ambassadors work tie in closely with Mozilla’s marketing efforts on user retention and acquisition.
- In addition to recognizing monthly FSA & Firefox Clubs and featuring events on different social, we’ve also developed a three-tier recognition system in hopes of properly recognizing our students who’ve contributed in the last few months. This will offer a clear pathway for Ambassadors who need more guidance. Read more about it here.
- Club Lead Training have always been an important focus to ensure students who wish to start a Firefox Club on campus and take a leadership position have the right knowledge moving forward. Now we have a well-built application process, detailed training modules, final exam, and new club leads on-boarded monthly. Read more about it here.
- Teaching and showcasing our Ambassadors to varying parts of Mozilla as well as different marketing-related skills is vital to the growth of our students. Every month, we now host Office Hour as a way to introduce ambassadors to our community, to teach them something valuable, or to offer in-depth explanation of campaigns and new programs. You can see our past Office Hours on How to Host a MozCoffee, Public Speaking 101, and What is open source and how to contribute?
- We also work closely to provide in-person, offline training in countries where we have active FSA communities. Whether it’s large scale bootcamps, (see also India’s FSA Bootcamp and Philippines Leaders Camp here) or regional meetups, our E-Board, Regional Leads, Reps and Ambassadors have collaborated closely to provide these opportunities. And we’re looking to do more!
- To improve communication with our Ambassadors, we’ve:
- Redesigned and optimized our monthly newsletter, seeing a 200% rise in engagement.
- Designed and implemented a four-part e-mail series via Exacttarget to allow for a better onboarding experience for students upon sign up.
- Are active on social channels providing relevant and conversational posts to our Ambassadors, see Facebook & Twitter.
- Blogging monthly going into extensive details, to keep students updated.
- Updated wiki, with everything you’d ever need to know about the program!
- To improve communication with our Ambassadors, we’ve:
- To better support Ambassadors event planning, we’ve implemented a swag request system to deliver swag to students who are hosting events. Based on event activities and scale, the gear received will differ in amount. While handing out swag is only a minor part of being a FSA, we recognize the importance of having gear as token of appreciation or as a form of delight to participants and Ambassadors alike.
- Our Regional Ambassador Leads are on-the-ground providing event support, whether it’s through helping with the planning and execution, or supporting in attendance. RALs play a significant role in our program and we’re now providing RALs with the necessary budget, gear, and resources needed to succeed.
Challenges we face:
We recognize that the program can always be improved and it is, always improving. Along with the many awesome things we face, we also face challenges:
- With an open program, we receive many interested students who want to support our mission. Although retention becomes difficult with the inability to offer one-on-one guidance to such a large community.
- Ambassadors are working tirelessly online and on-the-ground but it is difficult to track activities and measure exact impact without proper tracking tools.
If there’s one thing the FSA Family prides ourselves on, it’s our ability to turn challenges into new opportunities. Our focus for the next year include building the following:
- A community hub/platform for our Ambassadors to discuss, collaborate, bond, create events, and more.
- An online training curriculum that self-guides an Ambassador through topics of Mozilla knowledge to leadership/team building skills and carrying out events.
- Better support of Regional Ambassador Leads in providing guidance to students.
- Expansion of the FSA program in regions where there are no communities.
- Better integration and streamlined contribution pathways.
But we need your help!
We cannot do it alone and we are constantly looking for passionate Mozillians -whether you are staff, community, or a student- to help take this program to the next level. We love to hear your suggestions, feedback, and new ideas. Please chat with us at firstname.lastname@example.org, cc-ing email@example.com. Let’s work together to bring Mozilla to campuses across the world.
And finally, a thank you:
To the following community members who’ve helped grow this program into what it is today and helping bring all the awesomeness that will come tomorrow:
Our amazing first term and second term E-Board members: Faye Tandog, Galaxy Kadiyala, Biraj Karmakar, Gauthamraj Elango, Kemuel Domanog, Mayur Patil, Santosh Viswanatham, Tanay Pant, Viswaprasath Ks, Bala Subramaniyan.
Our current and past Regional Ambassador Leads: Abhiram Ravikumar
Aka Brou Yannick, Akshay Tiwari, Alifiyah Ganijee, Giovanni Joseph Legasto, Fauzan Alfi Agirachman, Jefferson Durán, Joshua Rubin, Karthic keyan, Kumaresan.C.S., Leye Odumuyiwa, Mohammed Migdadi, Muhammed Hasan Ahmed”, Ratul Minhaz, Rizky Ariestiyansyah, Talaal Burny, Ujjwal Hatuwal, Yuktarth Nagar.
To the Mozilla Reps, members of the Participation Team and Community Marketing Team for offering support, guidance, and all the love to our students.
And most importantly, to all our Firefox Student Ambassadors for the incredible work you’ve done. Continue to shine and rock the open web. We <3 you!