by Page Forrest
This semester, the Arcadian Society, Sewanee’s group of tour guides and hosts for visiting students, initiated a change in the structure of the society and how things are organized. The ideas for the change started when the University gave Arcadian leaders funding to attend a Collegiate Information and Visitor Services Association (CIVSA) conference over winter break. CIVSA helps colleges across the country better receive potential students on campus visits. Sewanee has always been focused on making sure to provide the best possible experience for visiting students, but the conference inspired Arcadian leaders in new ways. Forbes Mann (C’10), one of the Assistant Directors of Admission, said, “The conference gave us ideas on how to better engage visitors and provide a better experience.” Sewanee receives more visitors each year, and so the Arcadians are expanding too, providing not only campus tours, but also specialty tours for varied student interests. A visiting student can attend a tour of the residence halls, science facilities, the Nabit Art Building, the Tennessee Williams Center, or even go on a nature walk in Abbo’s Alley. Every guide is trained to give at least one specialty tour, in addition to learning how to give a full campus tour their sophomore year.
Starting this year, only sophomores, juniors, and seniors will be giving full campus tours, because the Arcadian leader feel it is important for students to have a better sense of their Sewanee story, before they present it to prospective students. Freshmen Arcadians will continue to host students for lunch, and lead specialty tours. This semester also sees a change in leadership. Many organizations change leaders at the beginning of the Easter semester, usually to provide seniors with more time to prepare for their Comps. This semester, Tristan Danley (C’15), continues to be one of the co-directors of the Arcadians, and is joined by Charlotte LaNasa (C’16) and Larkin Parker (C’16). Currently there are 45 active members, but the Arcadians are always looking for students interested in joining.
The Arcadians play a vital role in the university, considering that a student’s campus visit is almost always the most determinant factor in whether a student comes to Sewanee. An admitted student who visits April of senior year has a 50% chance of coming to Sewanee, which rivals Ivy League rates of retention. With the changes in structure, hopefully the Arcadians will continue to be a successful organization, contributing to the school and Sewanee’s future students for years to come.