Campus Prepares to Welcome Students at Spring Preview

“I had never seen so many trees in my life!” exclaims Humboldt State University undergrad Thomas Morgese.

He’s recalling Humboldt State University’s 2010 Spring Preview, scheduled this year April 8-9.

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HSU undergraduate Thomas Morgese, student coordinator, Humboldt Orientation Program.

Now Student Coordinator of the Humboldt Orientation Program, Thomas remembers traveling north from Los Angeles for his first-time visit to Arcata and bunking at HSU with fellow passengers.

“It was the perfect way to start my trip to Humboldt State,” he says. “I hung out that first night, toured around town and went to bed after 2 a.m.! When I finally arrived on campus, I was in total awe.”

Thomas found the next two days both fun and educational. “This was what drove me to become a Student Coordinator and help other prospective students. Spring Preview is one of my favorite memories. I have gained lifelong friends and an excellent education, all because of one weekend.”

Marissa Mourer, Coordinator of Orientation and Preview Programs and a 2002 alum, explains, “One purpose of Spring Preview is enabling prospective students to meet one another before orientation. That way, they start classes having already made friends with their peers.”

Spring Preview is a comprehensive Open House. The 2011 events start Friday, Apr. 8, with check-in from 7-10 a.m. in the University Center Quad, which adjoins HSU’s landmark Bell Tower. A continental breakfast will be served 7-9 a.m. in the same location.

Official welcoming ceremonies are scheduled Friday morning, 8:30-9, in the Van Duzer Theater, just a stone’s throw from the Quad. Afterward, prospective students and their families will tour every corner of the campus. They will visit the residence halls, meet faculty, sit in on classes, learn about majors, find out about hundreds of student clubs and activities and go shopping at the University Bookstore.

Friday evening at 8, the University will host parents at a Wine and Cheese Social at the Plaza Grill in Jacoby’s Storehouse, downtown Arcata, while their students make new acquaintances at a popular campus mixer.

“My favorite activity was the campus tour,” one of last year’s participants remembers. “It gave me a lot of information that I never would’ve expected, and it helped me make my decision to attend HSU.”

Says another, “Being able to see all the different on-campus housing was helpful because it really allowed me to make a choice based on first-hand experience, instead of just pictures.”

Spring Preview is organized for maximum flexibility. Attendees take walking tours led by current undergraduates who know the campus inside-out. Or students and parents can wander freely at will.

“The schedule is packed with activities,” says Mourer. “There are lots of opportunities for both students and families to focus on their personal interests and explore the campus in ways relevant to them.”

Freedom to move around is a pleasure, says a past attendee. “I expected to sit in a big room with everyone and be lectured. It was so much better to go where you wanted.”

Students and families similarly enjoy Arcata, listed by Outside magazine as one of the top 15 college towns in the nation. Or they hit the road to see Patrick’s Point State Park, a short, scenic drive on U.S. Highway 101 north of the campus.

Newcomers and return visitors alike take in the Redwood Coast’s unique natural habitats. “I loved walking through the forest next to campus,” a current student says.

Asked their favorite parts of Spring Preview, attendees mention numerous things. Some single out the “College 101 Presentation,” an overview of how to enroll, what to expect, and where to apply for financial aid.

Others cite academics: the “hands-on feel” of sitting in on classes and meeting faculty and counselors in person. As one previewer observes, “HSU is a unique campus that automatically makes you want to study.”

High school seniors who may be feeling apprehensive about the transition to college find Spring Preview reassuring. “I went by myself and I was nervous. I expected to feel lost and awkward all day. But the tour guides and student helpers were so friendly and everyone was so nice that I felt excited about the school by the end of the day.”

Transfer students also gain confidence. “I thought I’d see only freshmen but there were lots of transfers around like me. That’s good!”

First-timers say they enjoy getting the vibe of HSU’s unique school spirit, catching up on campus history and taking advantage of side-by-side opportunities to socialize and sightsee. “The student mixer was an excellent idea, although one of my friends took me on a hike in Trinidad and that definitely assisted in my ultimate decision to attend HSU.”

Although Friday, April 8, will be the busiest day of Spring Preview, campus and housing tours and community activities will be available Saturday, April 9, as well.

A complete schedule of events and activities, with regular updates, is posted at www.humboldt.edu/go2/springpreview. Details are also available from Marissa Mourer at marissa@humboldt.edu and 707/826-3507.