ECU Pirate Navigator London Paulson works to present a positive first impression of East Carolina University during a campus tour for prospective students and family members. (Photo by Cliff Hollis)

Pirate Navigators welcome prospective students, families to campus

Oct. 15, 2015

By Summer Tillman
ECU News Services

A new program in East Carolina University’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions puts students front-and-center in demonstrating Pirate hospitality to prospective students.

Through service as admissions student representatives, Pirate Navigators are often the first ECU interaction for prospective students and their families, offering Navigators the chance to present a strong, positive impression of the university.

Proposed by Associate Provost for Enrollment Services John Fletcher, the Pirate Navigator program enlists ECU students to assist undergraduate admissions in recruiting and welcoming prospective students to campus.

Since its launch this spring, the Pirate Navigator program has enlisted the help of 35 students to serve as admissions representatives. Commitment to academic diversity among Pirate Navigators ensures potential students will have opportunities to meet current students who share their major or interests.

Public health major and senior London Paulson started as a Pirate Navigator this spring. “My tour was a big reason why I came to the university, so I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity for me to serve ECU in a pretty big capacity,” said Paulson. “I got to know the admissions officers [and] they’re all wonderful people to work with. This has truly has been one for the most remarkable experiences I’ve had throughout my college career.”

Pirate Navigators work for undergraduate admissions, writing for the admissions’ student blog and posting on several social media accounts to spread the message about the university from a student’s perspective. During Open House events, Pirate Navigators assist prospective Pirates and their families. Students also have the option of attending high schools in their hometowns to inform prospective students about ECU.

“Last semester I had the opportunity to serve on a parent panel,” said Paulson. “We answered parent questions that pertained to campus safety, campus life, dining, athletic events, tailgating and nightlife.”

Paulson said the dialogue allows parents to ask difficult questions of currently enrolled students. “A lot of folks may feel unprepared or uncomfortable answering those types of questions…but because of my experience as a Pirate Navigator, I am very much empowered to answer them,” he said.

Veteran Pirate Navigators from the spring are currently training new recruits.

First-year Pirate Navigator and sophomore Jordan Pearce, who is double-majoring in history and political science, accompanies veteran guides on campus tours. “Everyone is so nice and friendly and that’s what attracted me to ECU, so I love being involved in an organization that embodies that,” said Pearce. “I’m really excited to see it grow because it’s still a very new program.”

Training will be completed when Pirate Navigators attend Fall Open House Oct. 24. 

Helping prospective freshmen and their families “is simply a rewarding experience,” said Paulson. “The most remarkable aspect of serving as a tour guide is simply to hear students come back and say, ‘You’re the reason I came to East Carolina University.’”