Weather affects visit day program attendance

With severe winter weather threatening the region, the Department of Undergraduate Admissions suffered a loss of nearly half of its 1,034 registered visitors for the Presidents Day visit day program.

Last year’s Presidents’ Day visit day program welcomed 597 visitors to campus.

But the forecast for Feb. 17 this year predicted a mixture of snow and rain that had Admissions con- cerned with the quality of this year’s prospective students’ expe- rience.

“We know that our prospective students have given up part of their busy schedules to visit, and we want to make the best of their stay on the Hilltop,” said Associate Director of Admissions Cory Craig.

Craig said the department always aims to ensure guests’ comfort and that the Student Admissions Representatives (STARs) are ready to give tours in any weather.

Typical visit day programs include a welcome from University President Joanne Glasser, a pre- sentation from Executive Director of Enrollment Management for Admissions Tom Richmond, a stu- dent panel, meetings with faculty of the visitors’ intended majors, an activities fair and a tour of campus.

The night before the program, Admissions had to shift to “plan B” to accommodate more than 1,000 anticipated visitors with the news of the predicted weather for Monday. After Glasser expressed concern about visitors’ safety

while walking through the snow, they decided to cancel the 10 a.m. tour.

“On Monday, we were prepared for inclement weather and had an alternate plan prepared as we always do when there is a threat of poor weather,” Craig said.

However, cold temperatures and wintry precipitation persisted until 1 p.m., so only around 500 visitors attended the program. Those who were unable to attend were given the option to attend another day, Craig said.

“We have reached out to those who were unable to attend the program due to weather, and many have shown a great inter- est in rescheduling a visit in the future,” Craig said.

According to senior and STAR Allen Ghareeb, visitors and STARs were good sports about the poor conditions.

“If they didn’t want to be there, they had every excuse not to as far as the weather goes, so those who chose to attend had really good attitudes,” Ghareeb said.

In her welcoming speech, Glasser told visitors they were now “honorary braves” for “brav- ing” the poor weather.

Sophomore and STAR Evan Powell said the main difference between this visit day program and others was the size of the tours. Because morning and after- noon tours had to be combined, the tour groups were slightly larg- er than planned, he said.

To make it easier for visitors and STARs, Bradley’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) shuttle and the Hilltop Safety Cruiser were used to transport program

participants across campus. Overall, visitors and STARs responded positively to the poor weather that brought in five inches of snow.

“We have had to make adjustments on the fly before, and, once again, I think we handled it nicely to ensure a successful day,” Powell said.

According to Ghareeb, this year’s unusually severe winter has not made a significant impact on tours.

“Everyone’s kind of in it togeth- er,” Ghareeb said.

Despite the circumstances, the STARs had few complaints.

“I feel the tour guides are well adapted and can give a tour in any conditions,” Powell said. “Even in the less than best weather, Bradley has a lot more to offer to influence students to come to the Hilltop.”