Photo by Veronica Arvizo, Staff Photographer
Over 10,000 prospective students and their families came to the University of California, Santa Barbara on April 11 for the school’s annual Spring Insight. Spring Insight is an open house event that allows visitors to check out different major departments, sports, clubs, organizations, and resources at the university.
According to the Office of Admissions, which coordinates Spring Insight every year, 11,158 people made reservations to visit campus this year (3,479 students and 7,679 guests/family members), with hundreds more showing up just to tour and check out presentations. 200 student volunteers, all in bright yellow shirts, helped guide families to presentations put on by numerous faculty, ranging from informational sessions held by College of Engineering departments to fun lectures like “Oh My God! Why California Teenagers Are the Future of English (and Why That’s Like Totally Hella Awesome).”
Aside from the presentations, prospective students, which included many who had not yet applied to UCSB, were allowed to take tours of campus, visit the touch tanks in the REEF Aquarium, and visit the Rec Cen. People taking paths from the parking lots to the Arbor were exposed to the multitude of club offerings at the university. Over 75 clubs and organizations, including Greek life, community service, and major-specific undergraduate associations packed the walkway stretching past Counseling and Career Services, Theater and Dance, and Lot 22, leading to Pardall tunnel.
The volunteers were also on hand to share their own journeys at UCSB, drawing from a diverse pool of students to give a snapshot of what life was like as students with LGBTQ identities, involved in Greek life, enrolled in the honors program, and many different majors.
At UCSB, where the party school reputation is a constant concern, students worked hard to dispel the myth that partying is detrimental to studies and research. While many choose to go out into IV, it does not hinder them from doing their own work—experiences of which many Gauchos recalled and told during the open house.
“The perception/reputation of UCSB to prospective students and their families can on occasion be negative,” said Refugia Acosta, the associate director of school services, who helped coordinate Spring Insight. “Our open house is an opportunity for current Gauchos to show their true spirit. I know that Gauchos are smart, giving, and caring individuals who create a home away from home at UCSB.”
Spring Insight 2015 expanded on the presentations being given in lecture halls across campus, filling the hour-long slots between 9 AM and 2 PM and packing classrooms tight. In comparison to 2014, which had a few gaps, almost every lecture hall was filled this year, with the except of one time slot.
Current and prospective students alike filled the school with more voices and bodies than seen in previous Spring Insights, and that wasn’t the only marked difference between past years. “The weather is way better [than last year],” said Vivian Velez, a first-year history major volunteering at the event, who also attended Spring Insight last year. “There’s a lot more people, booths, and things to see and do—definitely an improvement from last year.”
In addition to the paper guides that volunteers were handing out to visitors, touring families were encouraged to use an app called Guidebook to help them in their journey through campus. The app was introduced as part of multiple initiatives—to take advantage of growing smartphone use and reduce paper usage, quickly notify visitors of any schedule changes, and make it easier for students to use the hashtag “#futureGaucho” on social media. However, it did not seem as if many used the app.
“Over 1,000 UCSB students, staff and faculty are part of Spring Insight,” said Acosta. “The list is too long to share but it’s a campus wide event. Many people are giving up their weekend to be on campus… It’s amazing how many of us want to be at Spring Insight and share what makes UCSB unique.”