Multiple times during the week, students on the UWSP campus pass by or walk through a group of prospective college freshman. More often than not, these groups of high school seniors with their parents look lost and confused as the tour guides answer questions and show them the campus.
Perhaps the students merely try to look dazed and confused while hiding behind the green folders that are given to them because they are embarrassed to walk around with their parents. All in all, a tour guide’s job can be a difficult one. Being terrorized by parent questions and having to deal with current UWSP students is an everyday occurrence for them.
Tour guides Alyssa Sanfilipo, Alex Wouters and Rachel Siebers covered their most memorable, funniest and worst tours.
Siebers commented on the many questions she receives from parents. She said most of the answers should be common sense.
“I once had a parent ask what the drinking policy was for underage students and if parents could drink in the residents halls on move-in day,” Siebers said. “I was asked how many guns could be kept in a room. When I told them about the armory, they disregarded my comment and asked if they would get in trouble if they kept their rifle in their closet.”
She explained that larger groups tend to have more questions that could be considered ‘stupid,’ but when there is a smaller group, parents and students are quite shy.
Aside from the questions asked, a big part of the tour is in the residence halls to see what a room looks like. Students and their parents often ask many question at this point in the tour. Wouters remembered a recent tour where a mother showed concern for her son.
“A few weeks ago, I was with a group of about 10 people. We were finishing up our tour with me showing them what a room would look like in the residence hall,” Wouters said. “I was discussing how the roommate situation worked and how in all the residence halls there are all-female, all-male and co-ed floors. As I was finishing up, one of the mothers asked the following: ‘Are males and females able to interact in the residence halls? I don’t want my son being tempted.’”
Considering the culture of Wisconsin, it is almost expected that a lot of the comments or questions about the school are going to be about drinking. Wouters said he has parents and students ask how the party scene is on campus because they are looking for a good party school with relaxed underage penalties.
In Sanfilippo’s case, one of her tours happened to fall at the beginning of Homecoming weekend.
“I had a group of high school students on the Friday of Homecoming weekend. The group went outside, and we were standing in front of Hansen, and there was a guy swaying—obviously drunk already. It was only 12:30,” Sanfilippo said. “All of sudden, I look at the guy, and he just leans over and vomits all over the patio, and the whole group is staring at him. Half of the group is laughing, and the other half is grossed out.”
Sanfilippo, having already lost the attention of her group, finished her story with the guy looking up after vomiting. Instead of just walking away, he simply took a bow in front of her group for his performance. Her Homecoming tour would not end there, though.
“We were finishing the tour and coming out of the back of Baldwin after looking at the showroom,” Sanfilippo said. “We walked out, and some guys yelled out their windows from Steiner at the group saying, ‘Jell-O shots for boobies!’ Two of the high school guys from my group at that point then said they wanted to attend school here.”
No doubt that for many outsiders, these stories will be funny in some way. Tour guides give the first impression many incoming students have of this university, and they deal with a lot of odd situations that are most likely difficult to handle at first but end up being hilarious after.