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University hosts Spring Visitation

Gene Noone | Friday, April 4, 2008

The Office of Undergraduate Admissions, in its efforts to increase diversity on campus, welcomed prospective students from underrepresented ethnic groups to campus Thursday for the annual Spring Visitation Weekend (SVW), commonly referred to as “Spring Viz.”

High school seniors of African, Asian, Latino and Native American descent will spend Thursday through Sunday learning about Notre Dame while living on campus with student hosts.

This year, 102 students will attend SVW, a near 30 percent decrease from last year in an attempt to focus the event and provide the students with more personal attention, said senior Jesse Carrillo, head event coordinator for SVW.

“We have fewer students this year because we really want to give them more one-on-one support,” Carrillo said. “We want to do everything to get their questions answered.”

SVW, directed by supervisors from the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, has been lead by former Spring Visitation participants for over 20 years.

“The primary goal of the weekend is to give prospective students the opportunity to make an informed decision about coming to Notre Dame,” Carrillo said.

Events throughout the weekend serve to educate the students about academic and social life at Notre Dame. Students will be given the opportunity to meet with professors and faculty to take part in events that celebrate Notre Dame’s ethnic and cultural diversity.

On Thursday evening the Asian American Association (AAA) hosted an icebreaker game night in the Lafortune Ballroom to let prospective students get to know not only each other, but their student hosts as well. This is the first year AAA has sponsored an event at SVW.

As in past years, La Alianza’s Latin Expressions and the Black Cultural Arts Council (BCAC) Fashion Show will take place Friday and Saturday nights, respectively. The aim of these events is to showcase the school’s diversity while giving the prospective students the chance to interact with one another.

Sophomore Kristine Yuen, a student coordinator for SVW, said these events help make SVW successful.

Of the prospective students who have attended SVW in the past, Carrillo said at least half decided to attend Notre Dame, although the exact number has fluctuated from year to year. He said this number is consistent with their goals to increase diversity in the school.

“We really want to increase diversity at Notre Dame not just with students from different ethnic backgrounds, but with students who have a lot of talent and who will continue to improve our school,” Yuen said.

Visiting students applied for admission in the fall of 2007 and were invited by the Admissions Office upon being admitted to the University.

Yuen and Carillo said the Admissions Office extended invitations to about 200 high school seniors within the continental U.S. Their invitations were determined by a number of factors, Yuen said.

“Admissions tries to invite students from a variety of backgrounds who normally might not have the chance to see Notre Dame,” she said. “Some may live too far to visit or can’t find the means to visit. Some are first generation college students who might not be able to visit on their own.”

SVW will conclude Sunday morning when the prospective students convene in LaFortune Student Center, say their goodbyes and return to their respective homes.