Meridians are the image of the University. As UR’s campus tour guides for prospective students, they are the ideal college students: intelligent, amicable, and knowledgeable about their university. Yet, no matter how wonderful being a tour guide may be, the job makes for some quite interesting stories.

A Meridian can easily be spotted on campus by their distinctive backwards walking, done purposefully so their audience can hear them. As one might imagine, walking backwards all day causes a number of trips and tumbles. Meridian Yuting Yang shared her story of giving a tour to multiple baseball recruits around Strong Auditorium, when she walked backwards into the base of a staircase. Suddenly, she was on the floor, surrounded by her tall, worried onlookers, who all wanted to make sure she was alright. Another Meridian, Palak Patel, remembered taking a spill on the steps of Wilson Commons.

Patel has given quite a few tours, including a noteworthy tour given to the grandson of Edmund Hajim, the namesake of the Hajim School of Engineering. However, not all of her tours have been so glamorous. Meridians sometimes have to field uncomfortable questions from eager parents. Many ask about the party atmosphere on campus, but it can sometimes get out of control with questions about the tour giver.

Patel looked astonished as she recalled one overly concerned mother’s unwavering questioning about drinking. “It got to the point where she was asking me if I had a fake ID!”

Yang also related some of the questions she has received in the past: “One time, a parent asked me what my SAT score was when we’re in the admissions office, in front of everyone. I don’t even tell my family about SAT scores!”

Although some unwanted inquiries can make the guides uncomfortable or even embarrassed, most parents are very energetic and excited about visiting the University. Meridian Aaron Mason was informed by one alumna that there were once tennis courts on the roof of the Goergen Athletic Center in order to conserve space. He has also seen many parents give their children advice on what to do about going out, Greek life, and partying, which is an interesting perspective to hear from a typically protective figure. Mason was especially amused by one mother-daughter duo who discussed going out to parties together.

No matter how fascinating these parents are, students also create unforgettable experiences. One senior Meridian, Julia Kent, was giving a tour when she spotted a student sitting in a tree on the quad, reading. Disregarding the odd sight, she continued down her path. As Kent was about to pass by, the obviously disgruntled student jumped out of the tree, landed in front of the students, and adamantly warned the high schoolers not to come to this school. The teens were a bit spooked, but Kent was later able to calm their uneasiness.

The Meridians appreciate these humorous incidents, and they often even create their own. Yang and Kent both shared how Meridians have an inside joke of wishing their fellow tour guides a happy birthday so families react excitedly. Although the happiness in the families is unwarranted, with it not actually being their birthday, Meridians typically play along. With this fun atmosphere between coworkers, as well as the ability to positively influence prospective students, Kent is passionate about her role in the admissions process. “I would not have gone anywhere else, and I’m really glad that I get to be the face of the University.”



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