Letter to the Editor: In Defense of Tour Guides

I was very and frustrated by article titled "Prospective students hungry for useful tours, not grandma's cookies" that appeared in the April 14 issue. As a tour guide, I felt that the article was written with ignorance and made generalizations that could have easily been avoided had the author done just a bit of research about his topic.

The reason that many tour guides use the story about "grandma's cookies" is that it's the first one we ever heard. At the beginning of the year, all of the tour guides are trained by taking a tour given by a senior guide. It is here that many of us heard the anecdote you dislike so much. If you had talked to the admissions office you would have known that. You also would have learned that the office gets several emails a week from parents and prospective students praising the tour guides they met at Geneseo, saying that they were entertaining and represented the school well.

Admissions also could have told you that tour guides have a booklet of 90 minutes worth of statistics, facts and other pieces of information that we are required to say on our tours. Sure, I'd love to talk openly and honestly about my weekend to a group of strangers, but I'm a little pressed for time when on the bottom floor of the Union alone I'm required to talk about the concierge desk, the mailroom, the Geneseo Opportunities for Leadership Development program, M.O.S.A.I.C. and Activities Commission. Also, because tour guides have so much information to cover, I seriously doubt that any of us are wasting time advertising transportation to "everywhere in the world" or talking about "obscure campus legends," whatever those are.

As far as being criticized for mentioning obscure clubs, I love to do that because it exposes prospective students to the unique community Geneseo has instead of portraying it as a cookie-cutter school. And considering our Quidditch team just won a tournament this past weekend at Vassar College, I would be proud to mention them on one of my tours.

It worries me that my school newspaper is willing to publish articles written by students who have clearly not taken the time to research the topic they are writing about, and are willing to form an opinion about an entire group of students and staff based on a five minute bit of 

conversation. Let's all keep in mind that this article about tours at Geneseo was written by someone who has never actually taken a tour of Geneseo.

To the author of this article, I tried to see your point as best I could, and I just want to tell you one last thing; due to a glitch in the mailroom, I received your grandmother's cookies in my mailbox. They were delicious. 


Audrey Schiffhauer '13