Administration deters new students with awful weather
By EDDIE PISSREX
In an effort to raise University retention rates, the Puget Sound administration intentionally scheduled this year’s annual campus visit day during one of the worst storms Tacoma has ever seen.
The directive came from the Campus Visit Program office (CVP) to hold the event this past weekend, and was made in order to “weed out the soft,” according to CVP director Charlie Feelgood.
“Our levels have been dismal in terms of retaining kids for four-year terms,” Feelgood said. “And we realized that the kids from warmer climates just aren’t up to snuff for the rugged Pacific Northwest.”
Thus, the administration deemed it necessary to put the prospective students to the test.
The storm itself was composed of some of the strongest winds in over a decade, according to the Pierce County Weather Network (PWN).
Speeds were clocked at 69 MPH by local authorities and throughout the day there were severe flood warnings in Pierce County.
Retention rates have been noticeably low over the last five years, particularly in comparison to other similar liberal arts institutions.
The solution offered by CVP: to let new students leave before they even arrive.
The description given to Trail reporters is that the school has been facing an unfair disadvantage due to the rainy Tacoma weather when it comes to student body retention.
This new method aims to raise that number by giving preference to those preconditioned to adverse climates.
“We don’t want any babies roaming around the campus,” dean of students Don Wilsfeld said. “And I don’t know just how many more pairs of sopping UGGs I can handle seeing.”
The effort comes as a new method employed by the University in order to market campus as a place for rugged individuals who stand defiant in the face of nature.
Past efforts to brand the campus as just another happy-go-lucky environment for growth and learning have not worked in the favor of the administration.
In the long run, the image of the campus as a sunny and bustling campus are not sustainable because of the actuality of Northwest weather patterns.
Head of the Biology Department Wilma Evenford commented, “We live in a unique biological environment that ought to be celebrated. A good tan just isn’t natural here.”
The argument was also made by several Center for Health and Wellness staff members that the budget for handling students facing seasonal depression would be greatly lowered.
“We can only do so much for blubbering children missing their parents,” one anonymous CHWS worker remarked.
Before the event was held, campus tour guides were given the option to participate in the University’s flood insurance program in light of the high risk of weather activity.
Guides were also advised not to worry about lost or missing persons, as the University most likely would not want to offer them admission anyway.
At one point in the afternoon, a log raft was fashioned by campus visit tour guides in order to ford a small lake that had formed at the bottom of Theme Row.
Several Passages leaders were called in by security for their float-building experience.
“I can’t wait to attend next fall,” one prospective student said. “I heard the school’s outdoor program was excellent, but this is something else.”
It is still to be seen if the new branding technique will work.
However, marketing oneself accurately might prove to be helpful in the long run.