In Jan. Explore Eastern happened on campus. “Explore Eastern Weekend is an opportunity for prospective students to experience campus life and student life for a weekend,” Beth Pass, Associate Director of Visitation and Admissions Counselor said. I spoke with her nearly two weeks after the exciting event had taken place, and she spent some time describing the weekend to me.
On Friday, Jan. 25, over 100 prospective students arrived on campus, overnight bags and anticipation in tow. A weekend filled with events, such as Escape the Room, a movie night, a Latin Fiesta and Wednesday Night Worship awaited the students. Admissions partnered with different campus groups and programs, including Multicultural Awareness Advisory Committee (MAAC), Leadership Fellows Program (LFP) and Templeton Honors College to host events that reflected Eastern’s diverse community.
The goal of the planning process was to facilitate opportunities for the perspective students to explore all aspects of student life. Interacting with other perspectives and current Eastern students was the most important aspect of this process, and this opportunity was woven throughout the weekend. Willing Eastern students opened their dorms to not only give the perspectives a comfortable place to stay, but to allow them to experience dorm life and spend ample time with the hosts.
Past perspective students have reported that spending time with Eastern students is one of their favorite parts of the weekend because it gives them a sense of what the social dynamic of Eastern is really like.
Throughout the schedule, there were activities planned that reflect what an Eastern student might do on the average day, including going to the Jammin’ Java, Breezeway and Fitness Center, attending the women’s and men’s basketball games and walking to Wayne. Perspective students chose which of these fun activities to participate in, just as if they were an Eastern student.
For those interested in learning more about Eastern, there were tours around campus, specifically in the biology, kinesiology, nursing, and chemistry labs. In addition, perspectives had the opportunity to meet and greet with MAAC, Goode Scholars, LFP and Templeton Honors College; from this interaction, perspectives may have a better idea of the clubs and scholarship programs they are interested in pursuing.
After a packed weekend of participating in the many activities provided and relaxing with other perspectives and Eastern students, the visitors wrap up their weekend and begin to return home.
Many perspective students reached out to Admissions to give feedback on their experience at Explore Eastern Weekend; the responses were overwhelmingly positive. Just spending time with Eastern students and attending the Wednesday Night Worship were some of the favorite parts for the perspective students. When I asked Pass about the long-term goals for the weekend, she replied, “I would love for it to be a weekend that all the current students look forward to… something the whole campus gets excited for.” It seems that the campus is moving in that direction; plenty of hosts volunteered their dorms and their time to spend with the perspective students because they enjoy the weekend.
One Eastern student, Rainey Backues, hosted two perspective students. “I had a very positive experience, and I would definitely do it again. I felt well-equipped and knowledgeable about the campus. It felt like I was a role model, and it’s a weekend I’m looking forward to participating in again,” he told me. With another Explore Eastern Weekend completed, Eastern’s community begins to plan and await the next exciting week.