You’ve seen the bright blue shirts, the striped signs and human billboards, now hear from the individuals who make it all possible! We interviewed University of Alabama sophomore Melanie Rupple and junior Anna Shoultz to learn more about their experience as Clutch! brand ambassadors.
Where It All Began
Rupple first found out about Clutch! through the UA student job site, but was initially wary that her major was not the right fit for the program. At first, I was hesitant to even apply for this opportunity due to my original major and minor being psychology and criminal justice,” Rupple said. “I thought, ‘Who would want to hire me as a marketing ambassador if I’m not even in the business school?” However, one of my goals this semester is to do as many new things as I can that I normally wouldn’t, such as coaching basketball at the YMCA or applying for new internships outside of my old major. So, I put myself out there and was offered a position as a marketing ambassador for Clutch!’s second football season in Tuscaloosa.”
Shoultz, on the other hand, had heard of Clutch! before and was drawn to the small, tight-knit team of fellow college sports fans running the company.
“I found out about Clutch! last spring after getting back to Alabama,” Shoultz said. “My first impression was that it was ‘some cool new app that might take off soon.’ So, when I saw the listing on our student job site this August, I immediately recognized the name and the brand. It was cool to see that my direct boss would be someone close to my age because this company really is ultimately run by those who love our schools and teams just as much as we do. It creates this incredible sense of community that I didn’t really know existed between us all, but I knew I wanted to be a part of it.”
When entering a new job, especially as a college student, it is difficult to anticipate the working environment. For Rupple, it was the familial culture at Clutch! that defied her expectations.
“I was expecting this to be a do what you’re told, hang with the other ambassadors during work hours, and then go home type of opportunity, but it ended up being the exact opposite,” Rupple said. “I have made some new close friends, such as my new gym partner, and even new friends to go out with on the weekends. I definitely have had a blast doing various activities such as chalking the quad with Brey [Sizemore] and Al [Hall], doing gameday advertising on the quad with Anna [Shoultz] and Brey and even “human billboarding” in 100-degree weather. We even get to hang with Hunter [Strickler], Clutch!’s CEO, and his family, and let me just say his mom is the sweetest soul and treats us like her own and makes the most yummy foods!”
Finding Inspiration Through Clutch!
In addition to becoming a part of a community through Clutch!, Rupple gained a passion for what she wants to do next. “After talking to some of the other ambassadors majoring in marketing, such as Al, I decided that it would fit what I wanted to do with my life better and switched my major in early October,” Rupple said. “If it wasn’t for Clutch!, I would still be majoring in psychology and not truly enjoying it, so I am super excited to start taking classes that actually seem really interesting to me!”
While Shoultz has maintained the same major, she experienced her own moment of transition. After returning from time abroad, Clutch! reintroduced her to a practice that, it turns out, she had missed – college gamedays.
“It was strange to come back to school after my sophomore fall abroad as an upperclassman, not having any idea how gamedays work beyond the ease of walking to Bryant-Denny from the dorms,” Shoultz said. “I had missed that transitional period where all my friends had figured out what it is like to live off-campus and still be super involved. The thought of being a junior who didn’t know about parking to get to the games was insanely stressful. It was also intimidating to realize I didn’t really know how to ‘do’ gamedays on my own. Since I’ve been an ambassador, I’ve met so many people young and old who are excited and eager to use Clutch!, and getting to spend Saturday’s running around handing out free stuff and getting to still experience gameday and the quad in its entirety is such a blast!”
Experiencing Clutch! Benefits
Rupple also saw the benefits of experiencing Alabama gamedays through Clutch!, particularly through the interaction with fans. “One of my favorite things about Clutch! so far is the new gameday experience I am getting this semester in comparison to last year’s,” Rupple said. “Now my gameday’s are a little more structured, and boy do I love structure. I’m on campus almost five hours before the game so I get to see the transition of the quad from being kind of dead to being packed full of all kinds of people. I also really enjoy that we are encouraged to talk to fans because that makes the work super enjoyable and it is a ton of fun getting to talk to unique people.”
But above all, Rupple is thankful for the applicable tools she has gained from her time as a Clutch! brand ambassador. She was even able to turn a point of nervousness into one of her greatest strengths. “This has also taught me many valuable skills I’ll be able to use in my daily life and even at future jobs or internships,” Rupple said. “It has taught me how to maintain a positive attitude while on the clock, to always have a good time but also know when to be serious, how fun relationships with coworkers can be and how to approach strangers in a calm and collected manner when pitching. One thing that has always made me super nervous is talking to strangers about stuff they aren’t really interested in. That becoming part of my job pulled me out of my comfort zone, and now it’s what I do best!
Shoultz has seen similar benefits from her time with Clutch!, and echoes Rupple’s point about Clutch! feeling more like a family than a traditional company. “Clutch! has already given me so much applicable experience in things I didn’t know I needed to improve,” Shoultz said. “It has given me some great friends and even greater gamedays. I’d forgotten what it was like to spend fall Saturdays with family- kids running around, grandma making sure we’ve gotten more than enough food to keep us going before the game starts. The first Saturday I worked made me remember how much fun gamedays really are and how the people you’re with are such a big part of that. I didn’t expect to get such a ‘family’ sort of feel, but between our CEO’s real family who welcomed us with open arms and the little Clutch! family that we have created between us all, there is such a genuine joy and community here.”
Thank you to Anna, Melanie and all of our ambassadors who help make Clutch! a reality! If you are interested in becoming a Clutch! brand ambassador, you can apply here! Don’t have Clutch! parking at your campus? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to make it happen.