The Daily Northwestern

New tour guidelines highlight diversity efforts, cut backward walking

A+tour+guide+directs+prospective+students+across+campus.+The+admissions+office+is+testing+new+guidelines+for+its+tours+that+would+increase+flexibility%2C+highlight+inclusivity+efforts+and+cut+backward+walking.
A tour guide directs prospective students across campus. The admissions office is testing new guidelines for its tours that would increase flexibility, highlight inclusivity efforts and cut backward walking.

A tour guide directs prospective students across campus. The admissions office is testing new guidelines for its tours that would increase flexibility, highlight inclusivity efforts and cut backward walking.

Colin Boyle/Daily Senior Staffer

Colin Boyle/Daily Senior Staffer

A tour guide directs prospective students across campus. The admissions office is testing new guidelines for its tours that would increase flexibility, highlight inclusivity efforts and cut backward walking.

Maddie Burakoff, Campus Editor

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Traditionally, Northwestern tour guides have prided themselves on their ability to simultaneously communicate large amounts of information and cover ground, all while walking backward.

That’s expected to change soon, said assistant director of undergraduate admissions Justin Clarke. The office is testing new guidelines for its tours that would increase flexibility, highlight inclusivity efforts and cut the backward walking that has long been the “calling card” of the prospective student tours.

In place of the “continuous walking and talking” style of the current tours, the new tours would have guides stopping at different landmarks on campus and holding more informal conversations while in transit, Clarke said. Guides would be able to pick from different themes to expand on while standing at certain spots on campus, he said, like spotlighting campus traditions while standing outside Deering Library.

Clarke said the admissions office focuses on a different area of the visitor experience each year to see if any improvements can be made. When they looked at the prospective student tours this year, he said they found visitors wanted more time to take in the information and the views of the campus surroundings.

The new tours also do more to highlight diversity and inclusion efforts, Clarke said. Though these have always been part of the information given out on tours, the tours would focus more on efforts to support students from all backgrounds and call attention to resources like the Black House and Multicultural Student Affairs.

Additionally, the office is working on developing STEM-centric tours, Clarke said. About a quarter of prospective NU students are interested in STEM majors, he said, but it can be difficult to get to buildings like the Technological Institute and Ford Center, as the tours begin from the south end of campus.

He said the new tour model is currently in a “beta-testing stage,” and the office will continue to collect feedback to see if any further changes are necessary. In the end, tours should provide prospective students with a strong interpersonal connection as well as valuable information, he added.

“I hope they walk away with a genuine and personal connection and outlet to what campus life is,” Clarke said. “(The tour is) a personable look at what the possibility may be for someone’s story to manifest itself (at NU).”

Email:
madelineburakoff2020@u.northwestern.edu
Twitter: @madsburk

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