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Prospective students are not a nuisance

Grabbing my toothbrush and face wash, I left my dorm room on Gough 4th floor for the community bathroom on Feb. 19. To my surprise, as I openned my door, I came face to face with a dozen people: males, females, youth and parents, all staring at me in my pajama bottoms with my eyes half open.

Oh no; prospective day.

It is important to note that there are seven “Explore Eastern” days in one year. These are the open house days when campus is buzzing with prospective students. Admissions constantly offers private tours throughout the year for small groups, but my main frustration is with the open house days.

Why do they have to interrupt my every day routine? It is my understanding that I am not the only current Eastern student who dreads these days of added chaos.

Much to my surprise, after conversations with Director of Admissions Mike Dziedziak and senior Spanish and education major Jill Ladner, I will be thinking twice before grumbling about future open house dates. According to Ladner, the 19th was one of the biggest tour days ever.

“I think it was a record, at least in terms of the number of students,” Dziedziak said. He estimated 150 prospective students, not including their families.

Oh man, the Dining Commons is going to be swamped. I think I’ll eat Ramen noodles in my room for lunch today.

According to Sodexho Floor Supervisor Leonard “Doc” Carr, the 19th was a very busy day for lunch. On an average open house day, the Dining Commons prepares to feed 175 – 200 extra people during lunch. On this day Sodexho fed 392 extra mouths.

What about extending the lunch hours on prospective days? The lack of room in the Dining Commons with so many extra bodies can be uncomfortable and overwhelming.

“It’s not impossible; however, I don’t think it’s feasible,” Carr said. “We are a time-sensitive facility that needs turn over time.” Turning over is the time between meals that the Sodexho staff is preparing for the next meal by cooking, cleaning and vacuuming.

But how can I adjust my routine? I don’t want to be embarrassed on my own hall. Students volunteer to have their rooms shown to prospective students. This is how admissions plans which halls to show to tour groups.

Some female students say that they do not keep track of the open house dates and go about their normal routine. The problem? They ordinarily are comfortable in a towel on their hall. When males are in the hallway, it is another story.

“The tour guides are trained to announce ‘man on the floor’ or ‘tour on the floor’ when they enter a hallway with a tour,” Dziedziak said.

He also mentioned that admissions explains visiting hours to the tour groups so they understand that they are an exception during their tour.

What about posting signs at least 24 hours before tours are on the hall to reduce embarrassing moments?

Dziediak likes the idea. He mentions that he will ask students who volunteer their rooms to be shown to prospective students to also make up signs to be posted at the end of the halls.

Oh man; prospective days. Oh yeah; that was me three years ago. Before I roll my eyes and dart in-and-out of crowds on prospective days, I will remember when I was looking into Eastern.

I did not tour through admissions. I did not eat in the Dining Commons; I walked the paths around campus and saw the main campus buildings. A dorm was not part of my personalized and informal tour.

While it can be a temporary hassle, these students could be in our shoes in a few years. Why be mean to them for being in our way? After all, we were once there too.

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