Campus tours continue in the midst of the pandemic

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Katie Harrigan

The Gill Welcome Center is the hub for prospective students and tour guides on AU’s campus.

Katie Harrigan

Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, many campus organizations have had to make changes and adjustments in order to stay safe.

Ashland University campus tours have adapted to the current situation and continue to host undergraduate admissions visits for those interested in attending the school.

Associate director of admissions, Cheryl Logan said it is important to keep campus tours running because it is one of the largest factors in a student’s college decision.

“The demand continues to be present, even in the middle of a pandemic, students still want to visit campuses,” Logan said. “With safety precautions in place, we believe we can still provide valuable campus tours while keeping all parties safe.”

Requirements for an on-campus visit include wearing a face covering, maintaining a social distance of six feet and limiting the number of members in your party as much as possible. 

“We only allow one family in the office per hour and we meet with them in our conference room to ensure we stay socially distanced,” Logan said. She added that hand sanitizer is provided before and after the visit, and surfaces are cleaned after each guest has left the building.

Ashland University Junior, economics and business analytics major, Molly Gregory has been a tour guide for over a year. 

Gregory said one of the hardest changes was planning how to run bigger admissions events that used to take place on the weekends. These have now been spread out over two time slots on Fridays and Saturdays. 

 “On Fridays, we stick to up to 10 families per slot, with 10 tour guides working. That way there can be one tour guide for each family and they can have a private tour,” Gregory said. “Saturday events are able to take place in a bigger space so we are able to have a couple more families, but  we still try to have enough tour guides working so each family goes out on their own tour.”

Ashland University Senior and integrated social studies major, Justin Wilcox has been a tour guide for three years.

Wilcox said one small change that has greatly affected him is not being able to shake hands with visitors.

“Shaking someone’s hand at the end feels like a more ‘small town’ and personal way to end the tour as opposed to simply pointing them to their cars,” Wilcox said. “I know that it is an odd thing, but I still struggle with it” 

Wilcox said the Office of Admissions takes the motto “Accent on the individual,” very seriously and they are willing to accommodate all families whether touring in-person or through a virtual appointment.

Ashland University Sophomore, public relations and strategic communications major, Shila Hartzler has been giving student tours for one year.

Hartzler expressed that she wants to make all visitors feel welcome and at ease even under the current circumstances. 

“I want people to know we’re trying our hardest to make it feel as normal as possible,” Hartzler said. “As a tour guide, it is my responsibility to help students envision themselves here at AU and ask if they felt at home when they saw campus.”

Hartzler conveyed that giving tours, even in these difficult times, brings some “normal” back into her life along with the lives of high school juniors and seniors who are looking forward to their future college experience.

“Sadly enough, some students do not want to continue going to school during a pandemic, so colleges not offering tours are missing out on enrollment,” Hartzler said. “When we give tours at Ashland, we are showing people we care. We are working hard together to make sure each school year happens for all of us.”