Today I attempt an advanced blogging maneuver: squeezing in a post about Open House on the big day itself. Welcoming over 160 admitted students to Fletcher, and ensuring they have the best day possible of attending classes, degree sessions, Career Services and current student panels, faculty luncheons, research center round tables, student organization meetings, campus tours, housing presentations, and financial aid sessions is an all-hands-on-deck scenario. We’re fortunate to have not only a team of seasoned Open House veterans here in our office, but widespread support from many other Fletcher offices, as well as faculty and current students. I’m decked out in my best Fletcher orange for good luck!
The day starts deceptively calmly. We all get here pretty early to make sure everything is set up and ready to go, but it quickly becomes a maelstrom of activity that lasts the entire day. Outside of a few scheduled sessions I’ll administer, I have the luxury of being something of a floater for most of the day, trying to stay available and be useful anyplace I can. That means I’ll pretty much do whatever Liz tells me, as she’s our Open House team captain. Liz puts an enormous amount of work into Open House each year, and for most of the day she appears as a blur to those of us moving at normal person speed (I recall her saying she logged something like 700,000 steps last year, give or take a few hundred thousand). Thus far, I’ve been wandering all over the building putting up a huge amount of signage to help people get where they’re going. This role includes hanging the giant Fletcher banner in the Ginn Library reading room (where our morning faculty panel will take place). A tip of the cap to my librarian pal Lee for the last-minute assist in hanging that sucker, which each year seems just a bit bigger and more unwieldy than I remember (note to self for next year: it’s a two-person job).
Open House is designed to simulate the dilemma that Fletcher students face daily, namely having far more things in which you’re interested than you can possibly fit into your schedule. Attendees won’t be able to cover everything offered during the day, but they still have a few weeks to continue to be in touch with us before enrollment decisions are due. As something of a free agent, I have the luxury of getting to meet a lot of our admitted students today. Thus far it’s come in the form of a quick hello while I point people toward classrooms and help them stow luggage in our office, but there will also be time for longer individual conversations during our Admissions Office Hours, Q&A during a financial aid info session, and general chit chat between various event time blocks. My voice is holding up well enough so far, but by the end of the day I’ll be croaking like Tom Waits.
As you can see, things have picked up around here pretty quickly. I’m off to plunge into the crowds again, in an attempt to meet as much of our admitted class as possible!