Thousands of high school and middle school students come to the University of Idaho every year to participate in the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival, but until now, the university has made little effort to show them what UI could offer them as college students.
This year, the Academic Resource Fair will give visiting students a chance to see what opportunities could await them should they become Vandals.
The fair will take place from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day of the Jazz Fest on the East Zone of the Kibbie Dome. All colleges will have tables to answer questions and explain what students could expect as members of their college. Other academic resources will have tables as well.
“We have about 20 tables worth of academic resources,” said Director of Student Services Kristi Overfelt.
Overfelt said the fair will tap into an opportunity the university should have taken advantage of years ago.
“We haven’t utilized this event in a way that we should have with all of these students on campus,” she said.
“We need to provide them with an opportunity to see what the university is all about. We have them here so we might as well take advantage of the situation.”
Other recruiting events rely on student interest in the university. Students who attend regular recruiting fairs like Envision Idaho, UIdaho Bound and Explore UIdaho come to the university because they specifically want to see what UI offers.
Jazz Fest Artistic Adviser Vern Sielert said it is important to offer the visiting students information about the university outside of the Jazz Fest and Lionel Hampton School of Music, because although they are musicians, they will likely pursue a variety of interests after graduation.
“They love music and they love to play and sing, but they’re probably not going to go on and study music after high school,” he said. “Some of them are going to be serious about it but most of them aren’t, and they’re going to be looking for other things.”
Not all students are high school students, however. Most of the students will still be in middle school or elementary school Thursday. Overfelt said because of that, Thursday will be geared less toward recruitment.
“Thursday’s going to be more of like a fun, ‘Here’s what we have, here’s some giveaways, play our games,’ that sort of thing, just so they get kind of familiar with U of I and retain that information about who we are,” she said. “The high school students on Friday and Saturday are going to be more of a recruiting event. More like ‘Hey, come see what we’re all about, come see what programs we offer.’”
The College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences table will also offer two drawings. One of the drawings is for a backstage pass to meet one of that night’s artists, including the headliner, and the other is for an artist-signed commemorative poster. A student’s name will be randomly selected for each of the drawings before the nightly concerts and the student will receive a text informing them they have won.
Overfelt said the fair is part of the move to revitalize the festival for the 50th anniversary.
“We’re bringing everything back to campus and revitalizing the educational focus of it,” she said. “I anticipate this will be the first of many years to come.”
Nina Rydalch can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @NinaRobin7