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VIDEO: Campus Tour Guide Masters Walking Backwards

Ginny Walters is one of 60 Bearcat ROAR student tour guide volunteers who share their enthusiasm about the University of Cincinnati with prospective students and their families.

Date: 3/9/2009
By: Dawn Fuller
Phone: (513) 556-1823
Photos By: Ashley Kempher
Bearcat ROAR Tour Guide Ginny Walters leads a campus tour.

Ginny Walters of West Chester, Ohio, is seeing a busy year as a voluntary Bearcat ROAR tour guide on UC’s campus. There are growing crowds of prospective students and their families coming to campus to take in a tour and get a UC student viewpoint about what it’s like to be a student at UC.

UC’s Office of Admissions selects the tour guides through an application process. Once selected, the guides are trained about tour routes and basic facts about UC and campus offices.

However, Danielle Mendelson, admissions officer and Bearcat ROAR tour guide coordinator, says the emphasis of the tour guide program is to share the student perspective of UC.

“We want prospective students to know what the entire university is like, not just the academic part or the information from the Office of Admissions,” Mendelson says. “There is no better person to talk with about what campus life is about than a current student. We try to find tour guides who are not only passionate about the university, but also have unique experiences.”

Ginny Walters
Ginny Walters, Bearcat ROAR Tour Guide

Walters, a 20-year-old sophomore double majoring in secondary English education and journalism, has a story to share. She transferred to UC her freshman year from another university. “It (UC) seemed so huge. I graduated with 159 people from Ursuline Academy and was going to be attending a university with more than 37,000 students! But I learned through being a tour guide that UC is a blend of small communities inside one big community, and I thought that was really cool.”

She advises prospective students to get involved, both in and out of the classroom. In addition to her tour guide duties, Walters is a member of Kappa Alpha Theta sorority, has been active in UC’s RallyCats school spirit organization, and is a tutor and student worker in the UC Office of Athletics. She lives on campus in Turner Hall.

Ginny Walters

As a student in the University Honors Program, Walters took part in LeaderShape – a week-long institute focusing on leading with integrity and creating a powerful vision for the future. A University Honors course last spring ended in a summer trip to Paris to explore the city’s culture and literature.

She’s looking ahead to a University Honors service-learning trip to Kentucky’s Appalachia over spring break. The course, “Appalachian Culture and Intercultural Communication,” examines cultural differences in communication as well as the processes and consequences of communication between different cultures. As part of her spring break service-learning experience, Walters will be one of 14 UC students working with the Christian Appalachian Project (CAP) to help build or rehabilitate homes and explore intercultural communication theories as they apply to Appalachian culture in south-central Kentucky.

The University Honors Program enriches the educational experience of UC’s academically talented students through coursework and out-of-the-classroom activities focusing on the themes of community engagement, global studies, leadership, research and creative arts. With an emphasis on experiential learning, the University Honors Program serves more than 1,600 UC students representing every undergraduate college on campus.

Ginny Walters

All of these experiences Walters shares in her role as a Bearcat ROAR tour guide. The UC Office of Admissions reports that that over the six-month period from July through December 2008, more than 3,800 prospective students came to visit campus, an increase of nearly seven percent over the previous year.

Walters says one of the most frequent questions she is asked as a tour guide is about why she chose UC. “I pretty much tell people that this is the only school where I felt at home quickly. People say ‘hi’ to you as you walk across campus. I’ve had a very warm experience here.” She adds that parents will often ask about campus safety and the locations of university health clinics.

Her favorite stops include the Richard E. Lindner Athletics Center. “I think there’s a lot of pride in that building, not only in athletics, but in the entire school. When you walk down the hallway, you get to see the university’s history,” she says.

Another of her favorite stops is Nippert Stadium. “I like that our football stadium is right in the middle of campus. I think it does a lot for school spirit and creates a really fun environment.

“I also like to take the tours through Tangeman University Center. If you’re a high school student who’s thinking about coming to campus, it’s a building that you need to check out, since that’s the place where students hang out.”

Walters will be hanging out overnight on campus when she takes part in the overnight Relay For Life fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. The UC Relay For Life will take place April 24-25 on McMicken Commons. “I had so much fun at UC’s Relay For Life last spring,” she says. “There was so much activity.” The relay is the largest student-organized fundraiser on campus.

Ginny Walters

Whatever the interest, Walters says UC has an array of programs and activities to appeal to every student. For prospective students and parents, she represents the student face and voice of the university.

“It takes an exceptional student to be a campus tour guide and devote at least one hour a week to Admissions recruitment efforts,” Mendelson says. “When guests leave our tours, we hope that they leave with an idea of what it’s like to be a student at the University of Cincinnati.”

Walters is also an exceptional student in that as a Bearcat Tour Guide, she’s among a rare group of students who has learned to navigate the campus crowds while walking backwards.Watch her at work in the video.

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