The new and the old

Prospective students and alumni spent the weekend at Quinnipiac

Alyssa Naumann and Connor Lawless

Open house took on a new format under the new vice president for enrollment management 

Past years’ open houses at Quinnipiac have included big presentations and large crowds moving from place to place. Thanks to a format change for open houses, potential students are getting a more personalized experience this year.

“The intent is really moving things out of large Rec Center crowds, and into the buildings where students will be taking their classes and in front of the faculty that are going to be teaching those classes and with the students who are here is to give them more of what I’ll call an intimate experience,” Eric Sykes, vice president for enrollment management, said.

Connor Lawless

This is Sykes’ first year at Quinnipiac. He said that in large groups it is difficult to build relationships with the new students. The new format aims to create a better, more personal experience.

“It’s not done in a big crowd orientation,” Sykes said. “It’s done in a much more small scale where people can feel more comfortable asking questions and kind of getting into the details about their education.”

With this new format, the open houses start off in the Recreation Center where students register. Now, most of the time is spent in the individual school’s buildings where they can get a taste of where they would spend their time at Quinnipiac.
Sykes said that these are the locations where students can interact with the faculty that will be teaching them and the students who have their own experiences in those programs to share.

“One of the things we want to make sure they are aware of are what we’re offering from different programs,” Sykes said. “And what would be available for them for those different programs.”

Sykes said that open houses are the place where students can assess if they really “fit” here. With the previous format of moving people around in large groups, Sykes said that students were not getting the true sense of what Quinnipiac is really like at previous open houses.
“We’re not really presenting ourselves in the best light,” Sykes said. “We’re not presenting ourselves as we would want to nor as we truly are, to give them a good sense of what they would experience here.”

While the numbers for the September open house were high, Sykes said that numbers don’t always translate into good outcomes, and he is more interested in making sure the students that come have the best experience possible.

By using students at open houses, the school now allows potential students to hear about Quinnipiac from those that are experiencing it first-hand.

“I don’t think a presentation by an admissions counselor, no matter how good they are, is nearly as convincing as an honest assessment of a students experience at the institution,” Sykes said.

Sykes said that the reactions to the first open house were positive, and he thinks it has to do with the open invitation for students to explore the campus and what they will be involved in.

Some of the students that attended the latest open house on Oct. 20, got the experience they were looking for.
Isabella Luce, a visiting student from Belgrade, Maine, said that she learned a lot from the open house and having people available to answer questions was helpful.

And for Luce, the open house delivered the kind of clarification she was looking for.

“I got a lot of information because I have kind of been picking between biomedical engineering and biomedical sciences,” Luce said. “So they’ve given me a lot of information kind of pushing me one way.”

The outcome that Luce got from attending the open house is exactly what Sykes has been aiming for with this new format, regardless of the number of students that attend.

“Rather than ‘We just want more people here,’ I’d rather have fewer people and a better experience,” Sykes said. “If there were a trade-off I had to take, that would be it.”

Quinnipiac graduates re-lived their favorite QU memories at Alumni Weekend 2019 

Quinnipiac University alumni gathered on the balconies of the Rocky Top Student Center on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 19, for the alumni weekend pep rally, backdropped by a sunset over views of southern Connecticut.

The pep rally was the second-to-last event of the alumni weekend, the signature event of the Alumni Affairs and Development Office. The weekend kicked off Friday with the alum golf tournament, which raised money for scholarships for current students.

Connor Lawless

“We’re expecting over a thousand alumni back to campus, which is great,” John Arcangelo, director of parent and alumni affairs, said, prior to the weekend.

The expected turnout seemed to be realized at the tailgate and pep rally before the hockey game, with the parking lot of the stadium and the student center packed with past graduating classes.

At the student center, a mix of alumni and their families sat together in groups across the tables and balconies enjoying catering from local favorite restaurant, Eli’s, and shared stories from their college experience and their lives since their time at Quinnipiac. A live cover band played popular hits from across the decades from Bee Gees to Daft Punk, bringing the alumni some musical memories from their time in college.

Out on the lawn, families watched their kids play a variety of games set up such as four-way volleyball, ladderball and for the parents, giant bucket-pong.

“I’ve loved all the family events,” Kirsten Ditzler, a member of the occupational therapy class of 2001 and 2003, said. “This is my kid’s first time at Quinnipiac.”

Ditzler and her family came up from Pennsylvania to come to Alumni Weekend and made sure to make the most of it. She shared the tradition of hiking at Sleeping Giant State Park with her family before attending the alumni picnic and the pep rally. Her child’s favorite event, however, was taking pictures with Boomer.

Ditzler said she was impressed with the growth of the pep band, as when she was a part of it there were only four members, a small number compared to the program today. She said had seen them on the ESPN broadcasts of the games but seeing them in person was going to be a different experience.

“I’m really looking forward to the game because I was in the original pep band at Quinnipiac,” Ditzler said, “I’m looking forward to the hockey game tonight because they’ll be there.”

The men’s ice hockey game was the culminating event of the weekend. The team came back from a defeat the previous day to University of Maine (UME) to rally and to take down Maine 4-3 sound-tracked to the deafening cheers of alumni Bobcats that night.