For most students and faculty, summer is the most relaxing time of the year, but for two of Worcester State University’s administrative offices, it is one of the busiest times of the year. The Office of Residence Life and Housing and the Conference and Events Services Office team up to provide the best support services for those inside and outside groups that stay on campus from late May to late August.
Although most WSU students are gone, some remain on campus to work or take summer courses. Students from surrounding campuses live here as well, while participating in internships in the Worcester area. Orientation leaders host recent high school graduates during the entire month of June – those who will be entering the University as freshmen in the fall. International students also stay on campus. The Residential Life Office works with the Intensive English Language Institute (IELI), which also brings its students to campus.
Add into that mix outside groups staying on campus, and the University hosts anywhere from 13 and 400 people at any given time. Between Sheehan Hall and Wasylean Hall, there are 600-plus beds available with air conditioning.
What Attracts Outside Groups to WSU
According to Thomas Kelley, the assistant director of the Office of Residence Life and Housing, there are many groups that use this campus as their temporary home during the summer. There are small groups and large groups, short-term groups and long-term groups. The groups that come here are looking for either housing or conference space or both.
According to Melissa Fleming, director of the conference and event services office, Sheehan Hall, which opened in the fall of 2014, has some great amenities to offer potential external clients during the summer. Air conditioning, readily available work-out space, and a beautiful dining hall are a few. Wasylean Hall offers apartment-style living areas, which is an attraction for many adult programs.
From Academic-Based School Groups to Sports Camps
Kelley says that there is one group in particular that stays on campus for about a week in July that has a lot of spirit and follows that theme throughout the week. The Massachusetts Association of Student Councils (MASC) is composed of leaders from student councils all across Massachusetts. According to Kelley, MASC also puts on a “beautiful and thoughtful” candlelight ceremony before participants leave.
WSU also hosts University of Massachusetts Medical School students, faculty, and researchers for the entire summer, as part of their Summer Undergraduate Research (SUR) Fellowship Program.
Two of the largest groups on campus over the summer are the New England Institute of Addiction Studies, which brings about 400 attendees who live on campus, and The Student Government Association, which brings about 450 high school students from across New England.
Sports camps include two lacrosse camps, two field hockey camps, and various sports clinics.
There is tremendous value to bringing external groups to campus. According to Fleming, revenue generation and word-of-mouth exposure are two ways that the University benefits. “When they leave us having had a wonderful conference, they remember the institution favorably and it comes up in conversation within their circle,” she said.
Communications intern and English major Laura Mathisen wrote this article.
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