Campus signage confuses some freshmen

Rachel Christian

Jaleigh Bugher remembers a time when navigating campus wasn’t so easy – something a lot of new students realized this week.

Bugher, a freshman pre-radiology major, was on campus with her parents Aug. 21, the first day of Welcome Week. Bugher said it was pretty easy navigating the campus, but it was a different story back in February, when the family made its first visit.

“The first time we were on campus it was horrible,” said Bugher’s mom, Julie. “We couldn’t find anything.”

Bugher’s parents pointed to a lack of signage as one of the reasons it was difficult to find buildings on campus.

Claire Findley, a freshman nursing major, headed to the Eagles Roundup Dinner with her parents. She said it had been difficult to find the Health Professions Center, and said signs on campus should be easier to read.

“A lot of them almost blend in and it’s hard to read them if I don’t have my glasses on,” Findley said. “It would be nice if they were bigger.”

A group of Welcome Week volunteers who were standing near the Cone said freshman getting lost is a common sight during move-in weekend and throughout the first week of school.

“Out of every ten freshmen, I’d say at least half of them get lost,” said Dylan Winkler, a sophomore biology major.

Freshmen and their parents were often confused by the acronyms and abbreviations for some of the buildings.

“We get a lot of people wondering what the LA building is or where the PAC is,” said Marley Sills, a junior special education major.

Sills and other Welcome Week volunteers said the Forums and the Education Center are some of the places they get asked about the most.

Vice president for finance and administration, Mark Rozewski, said USI is unique because it has uniform signage across campus, meaning all the signs have the same style and design, something many universities lack.

“Could the signs be larger? Possibly,” Rozewski said. “But changing all of them isn’t a cheap or easy thing.”

He said signs on University Boulevard and around the parking lots has room for improvement. But those kind of renovations take time and can cost the university several million dollars in design and construction.

Not all new students experienced difficulties finding their way around campus. Some freshmen said different programs put in place by the university, such as the AMIGOS program and USI’s Southern Hospitality Days, helped ease the confusion during their first few days on campus.

Rozewski said USI is easier to navigate than many other campuses, and it shouldn’t take freshmen long to find their way around.

“After a week or two of exploring USI, they should have their bearings,” he said.