Work It: Student Tour Guides

Student tour guides are the first student interactions prospective students have at Lawrence. They must go through a paid training session where they have to learn all the buildings on campus and be able to share some experiences or fact about each one. The training entails reading the tour guide manual to learn fun, unknown facts about Lawrence, a shadow tour, giving a tour to a supervisor and taking a short exam on the manual. When the training is complete, they can give tours.

An important part of the job is to be a story teller. Student tour guides must have a variety of experiences at Lawrence to share their experiences and answer questions. The hours are flexible, and guides give one to two 70-minute tours to groups of one to four per week. The job is advertised through fliers and Facebook pages. This year, admissions hired 20 students, but on average they try to have 25 tour guides so that students can rotate out and not have to give tours every week. Admissions tries to make sure guides are representative of Lawrence’s population of diverse majors, interests and ethnicities.

Senior Sophie Penniman is a tour guide supervisor. She previously worked at Bon Appétit, the library and as an art model. As a freshman, Penniman was an overnight host and became a summer tour guide that year. After that, she decided to be a full-time tour guide for three full years. She says it is important to have diverse interests so you can tell your group more stories. She has been a tour guide since freshman year and has stayed with it because it makes her a more positive person and better at oral communication and time management.

“Sometimes I forget how much I love Lawrence because of Freshman Studies and the cold weather, but when I share some of my fondest memories I remember why I love it so much,” added Penniman.

She remembers being a freshman and wants other prospective students to have the same love for Lawrence.

Like Penniman, junior Wini Waters is a tour guide supervisor. She is in charge of making schedules and training new tour guides. She has been a tour guide supervisor since January 2018. She saw a poster and applied for the position through LUworks. One thing she likes about giving tours is that they are fully customizable based on interests and majors. She enjoys telling the same jokes over and over again.

Her favorite story to tell is how she was able to take violin lessons even though it is not her major. Being able to do one of her favorite things as a non-major shows that Lawrence is open to helping students explore their interests. In addition to being a tour guide, Waters works for Pizza Hut, is the Head Content Tutor for the Center of Academic Success (CAS) and President of the Outdoor Recreation Club (ORC). She is also a Lab teacher’s assistant (TA) and does research. She hopes that the prospective students in her group come to Lawrence and love it as much as she does. She has learned a lot about organization, and has learned not to procrastinate.

“Being a tour guide is fun because prospective families ask the same questions you had years ago. It is a great leadership role on campus,” added Waters.

Sophomore Quinn Bingham has been a tour guide for a year. She finds it rewarding to make an impact on students trying to decide which college is right for them. She gives almost all soccer recruitment tours to ensure prospective athletes get to know girls on the team. She has a remote internship, plays on the soccer team, is a member of Delta Gamma and the Panhellenic Council and is on the board of the Student Ambassador Program. She heard about the position when she received an e-mail saying she was nominated as a good candidate to apply. She likes to talk about her experiences at Björklunden because she believes it is super unique to Lawrence.

When asked what the most valuable lesson is that she learned on the job, Bingham replied, “From when I went on college tours when I was deciding where to go, I know a bad tour was all it took for me not to go to a school. Thinking about that reminds me that you should always be engaged and do your best in a job where you work with people, because you never know the impact it might have on someone.”

All the tour guides would agree that they have gained more pride in sharing their experiences at Lawrence.