The spacious, light-filled room features comfortable seating, a conference table, large digital screen, bottled water, and coffee. Worcester State blue and gold are everywhere, from the furniture to the carpet to the paint. Through the expansive windows, visitors can see a picturesque garden with trees and benches and the bustling campus beyond.
This is Worcester State’s newly opened Welcome Center, located in the Helen G. Shaughnessy Administration Building. “A campus visit is about first impressions,” Joseph DiCarlo, dean of enrollment and director of admissions, said, and he is pleased with the impression the center makes. “We’re excited about this space because we think it will elevate the experience of visitors and expand the way we interact with families and meet their expectations of what they’ll find when they visit campus.”
On average, the university welcomes 1,000 to 1,200 visitors a year. The campus is one of the great selling points of the university, Dicarlo said. “Students love the size, the facilities, and the welcoming environment of the campus,” DiCarlo said with a smile, “so we’re always looking for opportunities to get students to tour.”
The university had been planning on opening a Welcome Center for five to six years. “We wanted to have a space that was welcoming and made it easy for families to find Admissions,” DiCarlo said. Original plans to house the Welcome Center in the university’s May Street Building had to be shelved when the COVID-19 pandemic started. This year, the room in the Administration Building was identified as a potential site because of its central location and accessibility.
Once the location was decided, work progressed quickly. The room was renovated and signage was erected over the summer. The center welcomed its first visitors on Sept. 19.
The space can comfortably accommodate a group of twenty or more, but still feels cozy enough for a casual conversation with a single family. Faculty and students from the Communications Department are making an orientation video that will be available on the center’s digital screen starting Friday, Oct. 14. The video will provide information for visitors who are unable to attend a guided tour.
“It’s a good place to start tours and for families to look around the school and get to know the tour guide,” senior Kellie Blake said. The psychology major was preparing to lead a tour of the campus. She greeted families as they started to filter into the Welcome Center, finding a seat near the windows or getting a cup of coffee. “We used to meet in front of the Admissions office in a hallway, and it didn’t feel as genuine,” Blake added. “This is really good for Worcester State.”
The space will be used year round and is open every weekday and select Saturdays. Tours are scheduled for 1 and 3 p.m. every day, even if no guests have registered, to accommodate walk-ins.
Top image: Kellie Blake ’23 gets ready to lead a tour.
Beyond the Classroom
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