For high school students, a tour guide could make or break a college decision. Tour guides provide an insight into what the average day of a student might look like. For many, this is a crucial process in determining if they fit in. Here at Saint Joseph’s University, tour guides, better known as Hawk Hosts, constantly serve as a resource for potential new students. We sat down with three Hawk Hosts, Owen Blemlek (’23), Kiara Mulloy (’23),  and Jordan Busza (’23), this week to ask them about their perspective in such an important and influential role. Collectively, they claimed it is a unique experience being such a big part of incoming students’ lives and their experience on campus.

Photo of Saint Joseph’s University Office of Admissions building, taken by Aidan Dowling

Everyone on Hawk Hill can relate to the sense of home they felt when touring campus. However, due to the COVID – 19 pandemic, cultivating this experience for prospective students has been incredibly challenging. Reflecting on the past year, Hawk Host Owen Blemlek described his work during more restrictive stages of the pandemic as “extremely difficult” as he struggled to “give students a sense of what life here was really like.”  With the COVID-19 pandemic dying down late into 2021, all the Hawk Hosts describe a sense of optimism. Hawk Host Kiara claims, “It is so helpful for tours to see students hanging out and laughing between classes,” she continues, “we can tell them any fact about the school they want to know, but nothing compares to a lively campus.”

Photo of Kiara Mulloy (’23), taken by Aidan Dowling

With the uptake in tours, the Office of Admissions has redefined the Hawk Host role. All three we interviewed say that this change, influenced their responsibilities and duties working for admissions. Jordan, who started only responsible for “sending mailers, doing interviews, front desk activities, and phone calls,” is now responsible for touring aspects as well. Even with the extra tasks, all Hawk Hosts we interviewed still love their position, no matter what job they held before the redefinition of the job. Owen described his pride in helping to make sure the admissions process runs smoothly. But most of all, the three love to show off their home to prospective students. “My favorite place to take people on tours is Lapsley Lane,” says Owen, “It’s just such a peaceful and beautiful part of campus. When I stop there on tours, we can all stop for a second and take in all the sights this school has to offer.”

Photo of Lapsley Lane, taken by Aidan Dowling

All in all, the Hawk Hosts collectively feel they have some impact on students’ college decisions. That is no small responsibility; about 100 people come daily to tour the school, with about five to six tours going out hourly on a busier day. This number can only get bigger, especially when considering the merger with the University of the Sciences. All three interviewers came to the same consensus: the best thing they can show when giving tours is the sense of community here at Hawk Hill. As Kiara says, “Here at Saint Joseph’s, every professor knows their students’ names everyone knows everyone. If I can convince a tour group that they won’t be just another student but a member of the community, then I’ve done my job.”