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  • Writer's picturePAYTON HEBERT

Historical tours extend village connection

The tours are catered to new Village residents to inform them of the history of the area, however are open to all villagers. Photo by Rebecca Osowski

These tours will be headed by junior elementary education major Isabelle Conway, who spent her summer researching the history of various campus locations in order to create a new script for the tours.

The tours were previously given by Michael Woo (‘23) and provided the Villagers with an overview of campus, featuring each building and its contents. Though the updated tours will follow a similar route and will still highlight information that may be useful for Villagers, they will also filter out some of the less relevant content from prior tours.

Isabelle Conway talks to villagers while on a historical tour of campus. Photo courtesy of Isabelle Conway

Conway stressed her process in reworking the tour was to provide content of interest to the Villagers. “Villagers that are interested are often coming from far away, so they may not know any of the history of the area. So obviously we don’t want to include that class sizes cap at 25, they don't care about that stuff. So we loaded up on the facts of the past instead of the present.”

Nancy Snow, Lasell Village Educational Programming Specialist, pitched the change after feedback from Villagers. “They just found the architecture of some of the beautiful homes in the neighborhood fascinating. So I urged previous tour guides to learn more about the history of the campus, because that was the aspect that intrigued them beyond the points that they would need to know, as a student.”

Beyond an opportunity to learn about the school’s history, these tours also allow for Villagers and students like Conway to connect and learn from each other. “I'm really excited to meet more of the Villagers. On the tours I’ve been on with Michael Woo, it was so fun to hang out with them for an hour and hear what they had to say, like the differences from when they went to school. Some of them were around this area, and hearing their perspective of the history that they were around for is so interesting,” Conway said.

Villagers aboard a historical tour, learning about specific campus locations. Photo courtesy of Isabelle Conway

Snow adds that being a tour guide is a great opportunity for students to strengthen their public speaking skills. “It gives the students a chance to hone their presentation skills even more. And it's a different audience. It's very different when you're an experienced student and you're explaining things to someone who isn't yet a student, or is about to be a student of the campus versus explaining things to an adult who has a totally different take on what they need to know,” Snow said.

Snow also adds that although she is responsible for generating interest and getting Villagers on the tour shuttles, this experience would be impossible without the dedication and passion of students like Conway.

“I think that having the students do the tours is awesome, because they bring it home and they add such a personal touch. They are so enthusiastic about the campus,” Snow said. “The pride they have in the campus shows through, and it really makes everyone feel like a part of the Lasell family because of the intergenerational nature. It's really great because it strengthens the ties between the university and the village.”

Currently, of the seven new village residents, five have signed up. The first tour ran at the end of September and Conway says they plan on running a tour in November as new residents are planned to move into the Village at the end of October. Currently, Conway acts as the sole tour guide, though she is currently in the process of training more guides to give tours in the future.


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