A warm welcome

USF unveiled a New Student Welcome Center with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday afternoon.

The center, located on the first floor of the Administration Building, is designed to inform and provide incoming freshmen with information, tours and advisers to aid them in their collegiate decisions, according to Andrew Crabtree, an adviser at the new center.

According to a USF survey of incoming freshmen last fall, the school’s freshman enrollment increased by 15 percent from 2002, making this year’s freshman class the largest in school history with 4,784 students. The administration felt the increase justified a new facility.

The lobby includes an information center where new students can get pamphlets, University Police safety instructions and other information the center’s advisers think can help incoming freshmen make the adjustment to college life. The center also holds several interview rooms where potential students and their families can meet privately with admission counselors.

Adjacent to the center, USF opened The Preview Center, a small auditorium where potential students and their families can view a recruitment video called “The Real World: USF”, which follows the experiences of four students new to USF.

The Preview Center is also home to the Student Admissions Representatives and the Coalition of Leadership Organization to Recruit Students. The two groups offer campus tours and are active in student recruitment. COLORS focuses on multicultural students, with “intentions of making all students feel welcome at USF,” according to Tyvi Small, Senior Admissions Counselor and adviser for COLORS. Small, who is a former USF student body president, said both organizations are comprised of students who desire to give back to the school.

“Because both COLORS and STARS involve student volunteers, they allow incoming students and their families to talk to USF students who are actively involved with their campus and hear what campus life is like from their points of view. There is an instant connection between parents, new students and existing students,” Small said.

Otis Singfield and Lacey Ventsan, seniors at Freedom High School in Tampa, cut the ribbon to open the new center. The students were selected to represent the incoming freshman population for 2004. Both students will attend USF next fall and were chosen by Freedom to participate.