Parents and prospective students mill around the new admissions office at Ernie Pyle Hall. Tour guides huddle to review their new talking points and route for the campus tour. It’s student tour guide Nicole Hill’s first tour since the start of the new semester.
“New” is the theme at the Office of Admissions this school year after the office moved locations in May and revamped their campus tour to distinguish between campus legend and truth, said Hilary Deardorff, Senior Assistant Director of the Office of Admissions.
“We just refined our stories a little bit, especially campus lore," Deardorff said. "Just to make sure we are shedding proper light on the institution and not over-stating and over-exaggerating stories."
Hill began her tour at Ernie Pyle Hall, a change from the office’s previous headquarters in a house on Jordan Avenue. This meant she would cover the Indiana Memorial Union first, stop by the Herman B Wells statue, pass by Ballantine Hall, work her way up to Showalter Fountain, through the Global and International Studies Building, around the Arboretum, ending at the Wildermuth Intramural Center.
“The tour is very similar, but we basically go backwards because we start at a different place,” Hill said. The tour also now goes through the newer Global and International Studies Building instead of the older Woodburn Hall.
When Hill would touch on campus lore, she would say that the stories were not necessarily true but were still fun to tell.
Deardorff said guides can still share legends and lore with guests but now will specify what is fact and what are stories that have been passed down through generations of tour guides.
“We’re just making sure we are providing the right and correct information to our guests,” Deardorff said.
One of the longstanding stories now being sold as myth is about the Dunn stipulations, which were rules the Dunn family supposedly gave IU when they sold 20 acres of their land to the University in 1884.
But according to an article from the IU Bicentennial Magazine, the deed did not include any stipulations on how the University should use the land. Deardorff said the Office of Admissions took this information and told student guides they may share the tale of the Dunn stipulations but it must be clear that they were not truly in the deed for the land.
Now, the stipulations are told as stories that have come to define the campus but are not necessarily grounded in fact.
Aside from changing how campus legends are presented, the tour will also include more information about residence halls and dining in case guests do not choose to go to the residence hall open house.
Residence hall tours have been replaced with residence hall open houses from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. Previously, guests were handed off to residence hall tour guides immediately after their campus tour.
“It’s not right after, so if they have an academic session or they want to grab lunch or they have another meeting on campus, they have more flexibility,” Deardorff said.
Information about police on campus was taken out of the tour because of guests’ potential sensitivity to the socially charged discussion around police and police brutality, Hill said.
Instead, tour guides focus on Culture of Care and the Blue Lights found around campus to cover safety information.
Guides are also encouraged to share their student experience, Deardorff said. Hill ended the tour by explaining why she chose IU, a new aspect she said the tour guides were instructed to add this year.
“I love talking to prospective students,” Hill said. “I may make a difference in them coming here.”
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