Housing and Residence Life makes another big change: removal of Housing Tour Guides


Brielle McLearen

Madie Adkins, a third-year housing tour guide, giving a tour inside Sheehan Hall.

Reanne Weil, News Editor

At Winona State University, incoming and visiting students are given the opportunity to tour campus before making any final decisions. While on a campus tour, students and their families are handed off to a housing tour guide that showcases them various residence halls and what a typical room would look like. For Associate Director of Housing Candice Guenther, therein lies the problem.

“The ambassador, or the campus housing tour guide, will do some of the academic buildings and then when they get to Sheehan, they meet a housing guide,” Guenther said. “The housing guide will show them a Sheehan room and a Kirkland room and then they give the tour back to the ambassador. Trying to make all of that timing work was getting hard.”

Building a strong relationship with incoming students is important for tour guides because they want students to feel mostly comfortable and eager to pick Winona State, which makes the interruption of another tour more difficult.

“It’s kind of weird, you’re just getting this relationship built with a tour guide and then they’re meeting a new person for 10-15 minutes and then getting handed back to someone else,” Guenther said. “That’s the big thing: it’s the efficiency and what the experience for the students was looking like.”

Fourth-year campus tour guide and ambassador Auna Hallquist spoke about her thoughts on the decision.

“I think it’ll be different for sure,” Hallquist said. “It might be a little less time-consuming. Sometimes, if you’re having two people doing two different things, it gets backed up.”

Another key factor that contributed to this decision was the removal of West Campus and the idea that a separate tour was required for visiting it.

“We don’t have West Campus anymore,” Guenther said. “With COVID-19, not having West Campus anymore and admissions trying to reduce the visit time that a student is here, right now it’s just showing the students two rooms during the campus tour.”

Guenther explained that they do not plan on removing the showing of rooms/residence halls completely, but that a more in-depth tour will be saved for when the student is more serious about attending Winona State.

“On all of our ‘Choose WSU’ days and registration days we always show all of our residence halls, so we will still be tapping into some of our students that live on campus to showcase that perspective,” Guenther said. “It’s really just effecting the daily visit when the student is kind of ‘shopping’ around to give them a snapshot.”

Hallquist mentioned that with tours that consist of more families than normal, having one guide might come in handy.

“Especially on the big group days like Saturdays, it’ll be nice to have one person doing the whole tour, even if it makes our day a little longer,” Hallquist said. “It’ll help make it easier and less confusing for the families, plus it’ll keep them focused.”

Guenther claimed that although change is hard and different, she is confident in the decision.

“I think it’s a good move,” Guenther said.  “I think the experience that families have won’t be interrupted. I feel like there will be a better flow to the campus tour. I think the program has served us well over the years and the students have done a stellar job. It’s a little sad in a way, but it makes sense too.”