Sunday, November 28, 2010

On the road again....

We packed up and headed to Tucson Sunday night..... up in the AM and off to University of Tucson for the beginning of our week of college tours.  Kids loved UofA and it is fun to be on a college campus again!  This was our first tour so we did not know what to expect.  We sat in a nice room, watched an all inspiring video about UofA. All highlights of college, Frisbee in the quad, packed basketball and football stadiums, classes that look really fun, research and lots of cool kids.  Admissions Director spoke and then we hit the campus.  It is not the prettiest campus but had a good feel about it.  Free laundry facilities resonated with Riley and the state of the art fitness center (nicer than any 24hour, LA Fitness or Frogs I have ever seen) got both of the kids excited.

We hit the road for Flagstaff.  Made a brief stop in Arcosanti, which is a very cool spot. Arcosanti is designed according to the concept of arcology (architecture + ecology), developed by Italian architect Paolo Soleri. In an arcology, the built and the living interact as organs would in a highly evolved being. This means many systems work together, with efficient circulation of people and resources, multi-use buildings, and solar orientation for lighting, heating and cooling.

In this complex, creative environment, apartments, businesses, production, technology, open space, studios, and educational and cultural events are all accessible, while privacy is paramount in the overall design. Greenhouses provide gardening space for public and private use, and act as solar collectors for winter heat. 

John in love with this place....something he wanted to create on his property here in San Diego.  People living in harmony with the earth, maximizing natural resources, creating very cool art- primarily unique bells.

After our brief stop we cruised to Flagstaff to see Northern Arizona University.   Wow it was chilly. 25 degrees when we got into town!  We had dinner with one of my childhood friends....Cari and I were the best of friends for years through middle- high school. Inseparable and it was so good to see her again.  We last saw each other 13 years ago and we picked up where we left off, a true sign of a life long friendship.  Funny to see our kids together....

We were up early and it was, gasp 21 degrees, and he headed to NAU.   This tour started with a 1 hour PowerPoint and we were all in a coma....too long and too much information.  Ironic there were 5 other kids from Westview in the group- Riley knew a few of them.  Seems NAU is popular with San Diego kids...affordable out of state option is what it is.   Hard to concentrate on the tour because we were freezing. Campus is a bit run down and I had high hopes for the college town etc. The kids were non plussed.   Note- if your kids are considering a cold weather school, go in the winter.  Better figure out now that real winter is not for your child versus spending tens of thousands of dollars and then realizing it. 

  NAU with fresh snow

Back in the car and we were off to Albuquerque.  Next stop UNM.   Long day in the car and John wanted to see the Petrified Forest, but we wanted to get to Abq, so we compromised and stopped Holbrook County, AZ and toured the original courthouse.  We were the only people there and it was very hokey but we had a blast.  Lots of history with the Pony Express and a room full of old typewriters, which was the most fascinating to the kids. They want to try one and think they are really cool!    It broke up the drive and we saw some history along the way.
Pony Express.....

There was an actual courthouse as well and we had a little fun....Judge Riley and JD was on the stand. We had a jury of 1 and had our mock trial.  Tried, convicted and thrown in jail.  Amazing what fun you can have after being locked in a car for hours. Free petrified wood for all and we hit the road - destination Abq.

4th hotel in 4 nights..... we are in Abq. This is getting old, have to say.  Last tour of UNM.

We are tired of listening to the 3rd tour was going to be tough.  It was short and sweet- bonus for us.  The campus is big!  Kids liked it but were again not highly excited, but frankly, not sure what would excite them on this day. The campus was empty, day before Thanksgiving and most classes cancelled.  Hard to say.
I can say that looking at colleges is a sales process, much like when I tour a hotel for my clients, but these tours are not led by sales people.  I'm telling you they need a short, motivating video with the highlights of their college life.  Make the student want to be a part of the excitement.  Quick overview and then a fun tour.... I am thinking there is a buisness here, train them how to sell.  Although most Universities (public ones that is) are short on money so not sure their marketing budget has room for a consultant.  Anyway....would do them a lot of good.
Off to Sante Fe.....

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