BIG RAPIDS – Creating awareness of Ferris State University, particularly among minority students, is part of the outreach mission of the Imagine More Student Life Bus Tour, an event sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Student Services.
In its third year, the upcoming bus tour runs May 11 through May 14. The tour commences with a stop at Lansing Eastern High School on May 11. On May 12, the bus heads to Flint for visits to Southwestern Academy and Northern High School. Then, in Detroit, the next stops are at Kettering and Pershing high schools on May 13. Remaining in Detroit, the tour concludes May 14 with visits to Mumford High School and Detroit Consortium Academy, a Ferris-authorized charter school.
Michael Wade, College Day and Special Programs coordinator in the OMSS, sees the bus tour as a “powerful” outreach to students and parents who oftentimes are learning specifics about what Ferris has to offer for the first time.
“The bus tour is Ferris’ unique touch,” said Wade, a 2006 Ferris graduate, who works closely with OMSS Director Matt Chaney. “I’m not aware of any other university that’s doing something like this to reach out to minority students in communities around the state. This bus tour is a great opportunity for us to spread the word about the great academics we have here at Ferris. Beyond that, it’s great because we also are able to show people we meet a little about student life through our student leaders who are a major part of this tour.”
Wade estimates eight to 10 Ferris student organizations are involved with the tour, including the 40-or-so students who travel on the bus to spread the word about Ferris’ 125-year mission of creating educational opportunities for students.
Laketa Alexander, a senior from Muskegon majoring in Psychology at Ferris, participated in last summer’s bus tour and could hardly express enough positives about her experience.
“It’s great for the students we get to meet because it’s not like a typical recruiting event where you have a lot of boring speeches and power points,” she said. “This is a lot more fun because we, as students who are on the trip, get a chance to talk with the younger students and the parents to give them more of an idea of what it’s really like to be a student at Ferris.”
Wade also believes student involvement is a critical component to the success of the tour.
“That is what is so powerful about the bus tour,” he said. “It’s one thing to hear those messages from me or other adults. It’s something completely different when we have our students telling other students about why it’s great to be a student at Ferris State University.”
During the bus tour, Ferris admissions counselor Tyrone Collins plays a role of particular importance. Collins, who is in his 30th year working for Ferris, is available to answer the questions from students and parents, and to assist them in filling out admissions applications on the spot.