Making no money, their work pays off
Unpaid student guides offer ‘credibility to the tour’
Published: Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 15:02
Over 1,000 incoming freshmen and their families were given tours of the UNH campus on Friday. As the spring semester gets closer to its end and high school seniors decide which colleges to attend, more and more tours are voluntarily given by UNH student guides, who are, unknown to most students, unpaid.
For many of these guides, giving tours as volunteers is not a problem, and the UNH admissions department believes that using volunteer guides improves the quality and integrity of the tours.
“The advantage about not paying them is it gives so much credibility to the tour,” Daniel Richer, senior assistant director of admissions, said. “The fact that they want to tell about their experiences shows they love UNH.”
According to Richer, some universities do pay their tour guides, but he said that the admissions department believes that despite all of the hard work, it pays off to have volunteers.
“I would love to be able to pay them,” Richer said. “We have some students here that have a passion for UNH, and that really adds to the tour. We’re so grateful.”
There are currently 65 active student guides volunteering time for the university, and many of them are content without pay.
“I think it would be great to get paid, simply because we do offer a lot of our time each semester,” Allie Ginwala, a sophomore tour guide, said. “But at least for me, it’s not that big of a deal.”
Ginwala believes that what she learns and experiences through showing potential incoming freshmen the campus is much more important and valuable than being paid.
“I get a chance to practice my public speaking and communication skills and find out what’s on the minds of rising freshmen,” she said. “Plus I get to talk about all the great stuff I’ve done with my time as a student so far, which is just fun.”
Despite not having a program that is able to pay the volunteers, Richer believes that it is important to thank the guides in some way. The admissions department provides a year-end banquet and writes many letters of recommendation for the students.
“Probably the best way they are acknowledged is by the students on the tours,” Richer said. “We always hear about freshmen that recognize their tour guides on campus the next year and let them know how much of a role they played in them choosing UNH. That’s what really lets them know how valuable their time is.”
According to Richer, there are three guides that stay and give tours over the summer. These guides are paid since they show off the campus when they don’t have to be on campus.
Kirstin Rickarby, one of the three summer guides, does not notice a difference between the tours she gives when she is paid and when she isn’t.
“I don’t think that my tours are any different between the school year and the summer,” she said. “I try to put my all in for every tour.”
After their tours on Friday, families could be seen throughout campus, especially at the UNH Bookstore. Many of them bought school shirts and hats in anticipation of their college careers.
“Our tour was great,” Amanda Olsen, an incoming freshman, said. “It was great to see that the tour guide loved UNH so much that he did it without being paid.”
Her father, John Olsen, said that the two tours they had taken at UNH were the best they had experienced on any campus.
“The students here actually seem excited to be giving the tours,” Olsen said. “You can really tell that they want you to like this place as much as they do.”
Richer and the rest of the admissions department believe that the tours are much more effective with volunteers, and Richer said he is very grateful and appreciative for all the time and energy the guides put in.
“Their efforts are so valuable to this office,” he said. “We really can’t thank them enough.”