TTU hosts more than 8,500 summer visitors

Summertime may inspire visions of swimming pools and ice cream cones for many people, but it also means camps, conferences and other experiences for fun and learning at Tennessee Tech University.

More than 8,500 people visit TTU in the summer season for cheerleading and dance, music or sports camps, agricultural events, studying or just looking around, say university officials, and many of them live in campus residence halls during their stay.

“The average number of campers and other visitors who will stay in our residence halls throughout the summer is around 8,500,” said Roger Dickson, director of TTU’s Residential Life. In addition, about 70 TTU students attending summer classes live in campus residence halls.

“Hosting a campus visit is a wonderful opportunity for recruiting future students,” said Bobby Hodum, assistant director of TTU’s Admissions Office. “If a student enjoys his or her time here and has fond memories of visiting TTU, it makes a huge impact on that student’s decision to enroll here.”

Sports camps this summer will attract the single greatest segment of visitors, accounting for about 2,300 high school students visiting campus, according to Rob Schabert, assistant athletic director for broadcasting and sports information. The university hosts athletic camps for five individual sports — baseball, boys and girls basketball, soccer and volleyball.

The second greatest number of visitors and the segment of campers most noticeable on campus in June were the 943 cheerleaders and dance camp participants from school districts throughout the Upper Cumberland.

TTU hosts an annual Tennessee Governor’s School for information technology leadership, which is a five-week summer residence program that’s designed to provide opportunities for gifted and talented high school students from across the state to develop a greater knowledge of information technology and business leadership. This year’s Governor’s School brought 35 participants to campus.

And the African-American College and Career, or ACE, Camp attracted nearly 80 high school students to the university.

Earlier in the summer, American Legion Boys’ State brought about 600 high school juniors from across the state for a week’s stay. TTU faculty, staff and administrators serve as counselors and organizers for the annual event, making themselves available to answer questions about the university.

Participants of the university’s summer music camps will also account for about 600 campus visitors. That number includes about 120 musicians who attended the Southeast Chamber Music Institute on Memorial Day weekend, said Jonathan Good, chairperson of TTU’s music and art department.

“This was the greatest participation we’ve had to date with the Southeast Chamber Music Institute,” he continued. “Like all camps, it takes lots of effort to host it, but it pays off for its recruiting advantages. Some of TTU’s best student musicians enroll after attending the institute.”

Wade Faw, TTU’s School of Agriculture director, expressed the same level of enthusiasm about the facilities and for the opportunities his department offers to high school students. The Hyder-Burks Pavilion will host about 900 students during various competitions and events this summer.

The 2005 FFA and 4-H youth horse expo attracted 132 exhibitors, and the recent second annual All Breeds Junior Heifer Show had 51 exhibitors. The Upper Cumberland Beef and Sheep Expo attracted about 180 exhibitors, and the Tennessee State Junior Sheep Expo later this month will bring more than 450 visitors to the facility.

Not all summer visitors come to compete, however. More than 200 prospective students and their families schedule visits just for a look around the campus and its facilities. Another 1,400 students visit campus during the summer season for Student Orientation and Registration, or SOAR, activities.

So if many of the faces you see on campus this summer look a little too young to belong to college students, chances are they belong to high school students who are here to have fun, experience campus life a little early and take home some positive memories of TTU and Cookeville.

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