UCLA tour guides each give tours at least twice a week, showing prospective students and their families UCLA’s campus and giving them a feel for what it means to be a Bruin. Most importantly, tours help prospective students decide whether UCLA is the school for them. Daily Bruin Radio explores what it means to be a tour guide and their role in presenting the UCLA campus to potential students.
NANAYAKKARA: On a sunny Thursday afternoon on the side of Pauley Pavilion, Morgan Rose – a second-year international development studies student – sets out to give a walking tour of UCLA to a group of admitted transfer students. She is one of over 80 guides serving at UCLA, according to a campus tour coordinator.
ROSE: I’ve been so happy here, and I wanted to provide that same excitement and level of enthusiasm about UCLA to new students.
BUDISH: …it’s been one of the greatest experiences – being able to talk with prospective students and families, show them why this place is so special, so awesome, and really just sort of change some lives in the process.
NANAYAKKARA: That was Jack Budish, a fourth-year political science student and one of three campus tour coordinators, who manage the reservation system and act as liaisons between guests, tour guides and the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Budish started giving tours his freshman year and even gave a tour to current tour guide Morgan Rose when she was a prospective student. Here’s Rose:
ROSE: He really convinced me and sold UCLA to me, and it was a huge, huge deciding factor. … His name’s Jack, and he’s my coordinator now. I was able to come here, meet him, and now he’s one of my good friends, so it’s really an incredible community…
NANAYAKKARA: As she winds around landmarks such as Kerckhoff Hall and the Inverted Fountain, Rose gives prospective students and their families a glimpse into life as a Bruin, as well as a bit of UCLA history. Standing under Royce Hall’s iconic arches, she directs her audience to the ceiling.
ROSE: Here are depictions of our thirteen original majors at UCLA. Now, like I said, we have 128…
NANAYAKKARA: Of course, tours aren’t always without bumps along the way. Take for instance an experience of second-year business economics student and tour guide Aspen Bonini.
BONINI: I was talking about the Inverted Fountain to some freshmen in high school, and one of them tried to splash me, and I was just like, “Please don’t do that. That’s so uncomfortable.”
NANAYAKKARA: Third-year neuroscience student and tour guide Minali Mohindra had a similar experience to Bonini’s.
MOHINDRA: I was at the inverted fountain telling them about how we … can’t touch the water, at all, and one of them reached into the water and just … splashed it in my direction…
NANAYAKKARA: Though some audience members may splash water, most stick to asking questions, such as this very common one:
BUDISH: Everyone wants to know the secret of getting into UCLA – that’s what they’ll ask. What’s the secret? How do I get in? What’s the magic way in? And the truth is, there is none…
NANAYAKKARA: But, it’s not all serious. Tour guide Rose says that there have been times that moments after explaining to her audience that celebrities are often spotted on UCLA’s campus, one will appear behind them – doing a photo shoot, or shooting a music video. This past Thursday turned out to be one of those moments.
ROSE: Fun little fact: That girl I just waved to, her name is India Carney and she just made it to the top five on The Voice. I don’t know if anyone watches The Voice, but that’s her.
NANAYAKKARA: Tours end in Bruin Plaza, leaving guests in the heart of UCLA’s campus. Guides stick around to answer final questions, but there is one question prospective students must answer for themselves: whether or not UCLA is the school for them.
For Daily Bruin Radio, I’m Priyanka Nanayakkara.