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Interview With a Salisbury University Tour Guide


Staff Writer

What on-campus job requires talking to strangers on a regular basis, walking backwards for long periods of time and memorizing important facts about Salisbury University? These duties belong to the Salisbury University tour guides.

In order to fully understand the responsibilities of these individuals, I interviewed Sophomore, Kelsey Richards, a Salisbury University tour guide.

Q: “How many tours have you conducted?”

A: “A lot. I’ve been a tour guide for a year now so, a good amount of tours.”

Q: “What is the strangest question you have been asked by a prospective student?”

A: “Good question. I think, maybe not necessarily the strangest, but just like the most inappropriate one was with the bus group. They asked me do you party and where are the parties. I was like I’m not answering that. That was definitely where I was just like this is the most inappropriate question I’ve ever gotten for sure.”

Q: “But I’m sure they’ve probably taught you what to say when that is asked.”

A: “Another question that I haven’t been asked, but does get asked either by students or even by parents is that they ask is Salisbury a party school. So basically the way you want to handle that is just to say well at any college you can find a party if you want to find a party, but that’s not a necessary part. That’s not an essential part of Salisbury’s life and the experience.”

Q: “How are you able to walk backwards for so long?”

A: “Practice. Lots of practice. It’s actually not as hard as it looks. Once you get used to it, it’s not that bad.”

Q: “Have you ever run into anything?”

A: “Oh yeah. All the time. Normally people will warn me though. If you’ve got a good tour guide group then they’ll give you a little heads up if you’re about to walk into a tree or a bike, but I have tripped over some things before for sure.”

Q: “Do you find a difference between giving a tour to the local high schools and to people that actually want to go here?”

A: “Oh yeah. Yeah, I’ve given several different tours to bus groups, like high schoolers who have come in. They are way more rambunctious because they’re there with their friends and it’s a day off of school, so they’re all just excited to not be in school. They can be kind of rowdy, whereas your normal tour groups with the mom and the dad and the kid are way more quiet and way more attentive and then it’s the parents who’ll ask all of the questions and the kids don’t say anything.”

Q: “What is the craziest thing that has ever happened to you while you were giving a tour.”

A: “A couple there. I think the craziest and funniest thing was when I was walking a group through Red Square and this has actually happened to me more than once. The fraternities or sororities were putting on like the pie-a-sister/pie-a-brother thing and I actually had people in my tour group go pay a dollar so that they could go pie one of the students in the face and that was hilarious. I mean it was just so fun to see the tour group engaging with the students. That was really funny and they also did it when the business club did like pie the professors. So its happened to me like twice.”

Q: “And you just stop the tour group for them to do it?”

A: “Yeah, I mean the club was inviting them to come participate and we had time with the group, so I stopped and I was like does anyone actually want to go do it. you know it’s for their philanthropy. It’s okay you can go do it and a couple of the students had pulled money out of their wallets and they were like lets go. I was like alright. It was really funny.”

Q: “What dorms do you show your tour groups?”

A: “During the weekday tours, like normal tours, we have a showroom in Chester that gets shown.  For open houses on the weekends, since we have so many groups and so many people, we have two options in each of the residence halls, except for Sea Gull Square. There are rooms in Chesapeake and St. Martin that you can show them. There are show rooms in all of the different dorms, so you can take your tour group wherever it is that they want to go. I usually show them a high rise, so Chester, Choptank, Severn because that’s where most of the freshman get placed anyway.”

Q: “What would you say are the pros of being a tour guide?”

A: “It’s a lot of fun. You know all the tour guides that are doing it definitely aren’t  doing it for the money because there are a limited amount of tours that go out during the week, so it’s not like you’re going to make a ton of money being a tour guide, but you’ll make some money which is nice and it’s just  a fun opportunity to share your Salisbury experience and your love of Salisbury with potential students and help answer their questions.”

Q: “What advice do you have for students that would like to be a tourguide?”

A: “Just be enthusiastic; be knowledgeable. If you’re going to go through the interviewing process that’s definitely just the most important thing. Just being really enthusiastic. You don’t necessarily have to  be the most extroverted type of person to be a tour guide, but you do just have to be very friendly. That’s the biggest thing we’re looking for. People are getting their first impression of the campus, so you want to make sure it’s a good one. You want to make sure it’s a good experience. You want to be as friendly as possible. You don’t have to know every little detail about the campus because as long as you can get them connected to the right people who can answer all of their questions then you’re good to go.”

Q: “So what is the most interesting fact you know about Salisbury?”

A: “I think my favorite fact is that we’re the we’re the only college in all of the nation that has a seagull as their mascot. That’s my favorite one and I always tell that one as I’m walking out of Purdue past Sammy the Seagull statue. I’m always like, so here’s Sammy the Seagull and this is my favorite thing because that’s pretty cool. You know we’re not a basic panthers or tigers school. we’re the only school that has a seagull mascot. It’s pretty neat.”

Q: “How do you think that your experience as a Salisbury University tour guide will help you in your future endeavors?”

A: “I think it’s definitely, its taught me how to communicate effectively  with people because people who are coming here for the tours are coming because they want information from you and  I’ve had to learn how to  effectively communicate that with people in a way that is helpful and friendly. I’m making myself a resource that is available to them and I think that’ll help me in the future. I’ll just be able to effectively work on things and communicate with people about anything. I’ll be able to communicate about problems, information that I’m trying to share with them, that sort of thing. It’s just a really good skill. And also, being a tour guide has taught me how to be friendly, very positive, outgoing and helpful. It has just been really  awesome to be able to learn how to do that and to have that skill for sure. And being able to walk backwards is a plus.”

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