Trolley Helps Prospective Students, Their Families Enjoy Full Tour of Campus

photo of trolley

As Eastern Kentucky University has continued to expand in recent decades, it has become more difficult for admissions staff to show prospective students and their families on a walking tour all the Richmond campus has to offer.

After all, the campus is split by a busy four-lane highway and new facilities have opened on the periphery of either side.      

Now, thanks to the University’s acquisition of a classic 23-seat trolley, guests can see the entire campus in the time it used to take to walk about half the acreage. The trolley, once the property of a New Jersey community, was made handicapped accessible and colorfully cloaked in an EKU motif. It features large, sliding windows for full views, heat and air conditioning, and even a small sound system for tour leaders.

“We wanted something a little different,” Admissions Director Brett Morris said. “Lots of people have never ridden on a trolley, so this makes their visit unique.”

In fact, Morris knows of no other campuses, at least in Kentucky, that are utilizing a trolley for campus visits.

The trolley proved especially valuable in its first month of use, February. “Families are able to see the campus from inside,” noted Zach Lawrence, who heads the campus visit program for Admissions.

So far, the reviews have been very positive.

Candice Graves, an EKU student and Colonel Captain who often leads tours, said she has had previous campus tour guests come back just to take the trolley tour, “and they absolutely loved it.”

 As Morris explained, “There’s a lot more to Eastern than just what we call the inner loop.” New facilities on the growing south side include the Center for the Performing Arts, the Business & Technology Center and a renovated Stratton Building.

“This is a wise investment,” Morris added, “because it gives us the ability to show prospective students and their families the full extent of what Eastern has to offer. They get to see that Eastern is a significantly larger campus than they might have expected.”

Because a student’s initial visit and first impressions are so important in their eventual choice of a college, Morris expects the trolley to enhance the University’s recruiting success. “It’s a critical piece,” he said.

Campus tours do include some walking; the trolley stops for inside visits to the University’s Fitness and Wellness Center, the John Grant Crabbe Main Library and a residence hall.

The trolley is dedicated to campus tours. The University continues to maintain shuttle buses to assist students in getting from one side of campus to another.

Campus visits can be scheduled online at admissions.eku.edu/visit.

Published on March 01, 2013