Visitor Center Opens ‘One-Stop Shop’ in The Hotel
By Liam Farrell
Photos by John T. Consoli
Prospective students, Terp alums and other visitors to campus are now starting their journey in one of the jewels of Greater College Park, following the opening of a new visitor center on the first floor of The Hotel at the University of Maryland.
The move from Turner Hall to just across Baltimore Avenue is a way to give “a visual representation of who we are as an institution,” said Shannon Gundy, assistant vice president of enrollment management. “The university is always working to attract the best and brightest students. We have to put our best foot forward.”
More than 76,000 people annually stopped at the old visitor center in Turner Hall, and now guests arriving for campus tours gather in the Hotel near a new desk and kiosk area with KN95 masks, brochures, maps and small giveaway items like key chains and stickers. (The COVID-19 pandemic is still necessitating some program revisions—traditional open houses are still done virtually.)
There’s also “The Tunnel,” a screen-filled hallway that shows upscale video presentations of life at UMD. A connected conference room will eventually be used for information sessions, but for now the Hotel’s ballrooms will be a key resource for admitted student visit days beginning this month.
Veronica Marin, UMD’s assistant director of visitor engagement, said that while visitor center operations were previously split between Turner Hall and the neighboring Rossborough Inn, the new location provides a “one-stop shop” for visitor questions. (Conference and Visitors Services continues to staff an information desk in Turner Hall.)
“That’s really what was missing before,” she said.
Gundy said the new center will be an opportunity to combine excellent information and customer service with beautiful video and images of campus, ultimately resulting in prospective students wanting to apply to and attend UMD.
“We want visitors to walk away feeling that their visit experience really gives them a true sense that the University of Maryland is a world-class institution,” she said. “In order for them to have that feeling, the visit has to be world class.”
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