Campus tour guides share Cornell’s story
Rubi Araiza Camba can often be found pointing out little known facts about Cornell College to visiting students and families as a campus tour guide.
The senior has been giving tours since her first year on campus.
“I have loved being a tour guide because I’ve gotten to learn so many facts about the school–sometimes things that not even current students know,” Araiza Camba said. “I also enjoy meeting families from all over the place and being able to show them so many aspects of Cornell that make it such a great school.”
The engineering major from Basalt, Colorado, is one of 30 campus tour guides. First-year students through seniors are welcome to apply for the job.
“I believe that being a tour guide is one of the most important and valuable work-study positions on campus,” said Senior Admissions Representative Phil Welsh, who manages the program. “Serving in this role fosters growth in their problem-solving, time management, and communication skills. Our supervisors make sure our tour guides receive extensive education in all things Cornell, and we arrange meetings every block with different departments on campus to always stay informed on the latest changes.”
While there’s always something new to talk about, many families want to know more about something that’s been around for 40 years, the block plan. Araiza Camba says many families and students ask about how she handles the workload during the hour-long tours.
“While other students on the semester plan are focusing on four to six different courses, we are only focused on one,” she tells families. “We have so many resources that help us succeed if we ever feel like we are struggling. Cornell students are known to be super involved. So even being in hard classes, they can still join in on sports and various clubs and organizations.”
Connor Duffus, a politics and history major from Grinnell, Iowa, is also a tour guide. He tailors his tours to the student’s interests and always enjoys showing off the Thomas Commons–the hub for many activities on campus.
“I think it provides the best opportunity for prospective students and their families to really see what Cornell is all about–getting involved in clubs and organizations, using resources like the Berry Career Institute, and relaxing on the Orange Carpet during Pet Therapy Day. There’s so much in the Commons that represents us,” Duffus said.
Araiza Camba enjoys showing families smaller classrooms that demonstrate the close relationships students form with their professors. It’s not unusual for her to come across a professor she’s had in class during a campus tour.
“They will sometimes stop to talk to the prospective student and tell them about the class they teach or about Cornell in general,” she said. “This just shows how personalized our campus is and how professors focus on each individual in and outside the classroom.”
The Cornell visit team works around the clock to match prospective students with tour guides who share similar hometowns, interest, or majors. Welsh enjoys seeing the student tour guide learn about Cornell, meet new people, and grow professionally, as they take on this job.
“I have seen so many of our tour guides become confident in their ability to work with people of all backgrounds, handle unexpected events, think on their feet, speak on student panels in front of more than 100 people, and answer difficult questions,” Welsh said. “There is no shortage of valuable skills one can gain from this experience, and the best tour guides take pride in continuing to find ways to challenge themselves.”
So, while these students enjoy pointing out all the little known facts about campus, it’s a pretty well-known fact that the tour guides really help make the Hilltop a great place to visit.
If students are interested in applying to become a campus tour guide, they can contact Welsh at firstname.lastname@example.org. The position pays $10 an hour and schedules are based on student availability. Hiring typically takes place during Block 4, but students can apply year-round.