New students tour campus at Howl Days. Photo courtesy of University of Alaska Anchorage.
The campus may be quiet during the summer, but student orientation is busy hitting the pavement and preparing students for successful campus visits.
In an interview, Orientation and Campus Tours Coordinator Daphne Ang said there are a lot of things first-year students don’t know and that tours are a way to learn about the resources the UAA has to offer.
There are three different types of tours: Howl Days in person, online with an orientation guide, and virtual self-guided.
The Howl Days tour consists of an introduction, a walk around campus, a presentation by a student advisor, and an optional tour of UAA residential accommodations. Plus, there are free Seawolf snacks and gifts.
Ang said anyone can join the tour, not just freshmen.
Having never done orientation, despite a few years under my belt, I decided to register and try my luck.
There were about 40 students in the group, and we started the tour by playing a type of bingo where we had to get the names of other people with unique characteristics, like someone who is left-handed or someone born in Alaska.
After breaking the ice, the orientation managers presented a PowerPoint presentation that covered basic information such as UAA email, Wolfcards, parking permits and ordering books through the online bookstore.
Some important offices and departments were also mentioned, including the University Police Department, Stewardship Office, Native Office, Career Services, Math Lab, and Writing Center.
Finally, some ways students could participate in campus life through programs like USUAA, Athletics, and the Green Fee Board were mentioned.
One interesting thing that stood out was how many free things students had access to. UAA students can participate in athletic games, drive the mover, and use campus gym services for free.
Entering the walking portion of the tour, we split into two groups and walked around campus. Ang led our group and she talked about the different buildings and the departments each contained.
After regrouping with the other students, freshman counselor Justin Dickens gave a presentation on the different types of courses offered by UAA and how to enroll.
During the residential portion of the tour, Director of Resident Life, Ryan Hill, answered some questions about student housing and took the group to the halls of residence.
The total duration of the tour, including the residential option, was approximately 4 hours.
The online visit takes place via Zoom. It has the same presentations as the Howl Days tour and the campus tour is a slide show. It takes about two hours, Ang said.
The self-guided virtual tour only lasts about an hour.
For anyone wishing to join the Howl Days tour, five more slots are open this summer. Ang said the only thing students should bring with them is a pair of comfortable walking shoes.
Also, the next opportunity for a tour after the end of the summer is in December and January, she said.