New Welcome Center provides campus tours, job opportunities for prospective students


Christine Sanchez

The Welcome Center includes a lounge area with natural lighting and a presentation room where students can attend information sessions about university programs and degree options.

The university has added an official Welcome Center to the first floor of Main Building where new or prospective students can learn more about the campus community through tours and information sessions.

Director of Admission Programs and Partnerships Dinah Sbelgio Kinard said that the Welcome Center serves as “the living room of the university for prospective families.”

“The Welcome Center is the first point of contact for students who are interested in applying to St. Edward’s and their parents,” Sbelgio Kinard said. “The Admissions Office is part of the Welcome Center; the two departments are essentially one and the same.”

“We answer phone calls and take incoming inquiries and questions about applications or wanting to make a visit to campus,” she said.

Before the Welcome Center called Main Building its home, visitors would begin their tours and attend information sessions in a classroom on the third floor of Ragsdale Center.

Sbelgio Kinard said the transition from Ragsdale to Main Building has been like “night and day.”

“Having our new space in the same building as the Office of Admissions and Student Financial Services is helpful,” Sbelgio Kinard said. “There’s better connection between those departments and prospective students and their families. We’re grateful to have this space now so that families can feel like they’re leaving campus with a clear understanding of St. Edward’s and the opportunities that exist here.”

The Welcome Center also offers on-campus job opportunities for students. Students can apply to work at the front desk, answering questions from new or prospective students and their families both over the phone and in person. Students can also volunteer to become a campus tour guide, where they introduce incoming students to St. Edward’s and everything the campus has to offer.

Arriana Puente is a senior finance major who works at the Welcome Center as a front desk assistant. She said having an official space for visits allows the admissions team to “connect more with students and put a name to the [new or prospective students’] faces.”

Janine Khammash, an office specialist who also works at the Welcome Center front desk, agrees, saying her staff is able to see visitors at the beginning and end of their tour, which  allows their experience to “come full circle.” 

Lilia Houser is a senior biology major and has been a tour guide at  St. Edward’s for the past four years.

“I’ve always enjoyed meeting new people and helping students figure out what they wanna do and what college they want to go to,” Houser says. “I think the best experience is having somebody fall in love with [St. Edward’s].”

When she toured St. Edward’s, she had a positive experience that she works to pass on to incoming students.

“Whenever I smiled at a student, they smiled back,” Houser said. “For somebody who was terrified of college kids, that meant the absolute world and showed me a glimpse into the welcoming community.”