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Monday, September 21, 2009 - 7A
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with the tour participants," Gra
man wrote in an e-mail. "Studen
and parents now ask more que
tions during the tour and also a
more likely to provide feedback
their guide after the tour."
Kallay said some of the ma
problems with the tours he atten
are thatntheyaretoo long, the wal
ing groups are too big for partic
pants to hear or see the tour guk
and the presentation is monot
nously scripted and impersonal.
As an "evangelist," oKall
preaches the importance of feeli
and ambience in campus visits, c
ing Starbucks and Disney as co
porate examples of how to sell
"They don't invest in their can
pus experience, though college its
is a huge experience," Kllay said
schools whose campus visit practic
are in need of change. "It's a pla
you study and have fun. Prospecti
students want to hear and see th
entire authentic experience."
Feodies Shipp III, assistant dire
tor of undergraduate admissio
at the University of Michigan, sa
that the University has not consu
ed TargetX or similar companie
But, Shipp said, the University do
largely follow the firm's principl
for successful campuovisits.
"On a constant, ongoing basis,
Fairchild recalled one incident
when the cashier at Arby's gave him
a free meal when she discovered
what he was doing.
"I was getting out my wallet
and she was like, 'We don't charge
heroes here,' "he said.
He added, "I'm not a hero, I'm just
doing something anyone could do."
When describing the people he
has met, Fairchild referenced the
1994 film "Forrest Gump," in which
the title character, played by Tom
Hanks, spends years running back
and forth across the country.
"I'm having all of Forrest Gump's
experiences along the way. It's kind
of fun," he said.
Because Fairchild is walking
more than running, he said he has
found this easier than training for
"It's not really that strenuous, and
it's almost like something I think
almost anyone can do because it's
mostly the time, it's mostly being
able tobe alone for-so long," he said.
But Fairchild said the journey
hasn't always been easy - after
_alking 500 miles, he began to
question his trip.
"I was kind of thinking, OK, why
am I really doing this?" he said.
"Yeah, I want to see what's out there
and maybe learn philosophy and go
deep inside myself. But ... I can do
that somewhere else; I don't have to
be doing this."
He said he soon realized he
needed to finish the journey just
to complete it.
"What am Igoing to do anyway?"
our presentation," Shipp said, adding
that evaluations are consistently posi-
is constantly asking his or her staff to
u- rigorously evaluate their tactics and
ts make cost-effective changes."
s- Shipp said that while tour guides
re are trained to give specific facts and
to lead the group through the Diagand
in important buildings like Angell
in Hall and the Chemistry Building,
ds manytour choices are up to them.
k- "We don't necessarily prescribe
H- a certain route around campus for
de our tour guides, and we definitely
o- encourage them to make their pre-
sentations personal and share sto-
ay ries," Shipp said. "We are trying to
ng give a sense of the University's scope
it- and size, aswell as its personality."
r- In his experience, Kallay praised
an two TargetX clients, Albion College
and Northern Michigan University,
m- in particular, for their campus pre-
of "They're two of the most authen-
es tic and rich campus experiences
ce around," he said.
re Kevin Kropf, director of
ve admissions at Albion, was appre-
at ciative of Kallay's critical eye.
"Things that seem matter-of-
c- fact can really have a negative
ns impact on the school's image,"
id Kropf said. "Now we want to
It- treat outsiders like insiders -
s. letting students in on the lingo,
es engaging in the traditions, so
es they kind of feel like they're a
part of the place."
ye Gina Lombardini, assistant
to director of admissions at NMU,
he said. "It's not like I can sit around
my parent's house or ... get an apart-
ment, get a job and start the whole
thing over with no direction."
He encourages people tocheckouthis
Website at www.runsomemore.com,
regardless of whether or not theytcon-
tribute to his cause.
Beyond raising money for MS
research, Fairchild said he doesn't
have any message he wants people
to take away from this. He wants
them to make up their own minds.
"I just kind of put it all out there
into the world and say, wherever
you are, whatever point in your life,
whatever you need, maybe there's
something in there for you," he
said. "I'm just going to put this
energy out there. Take whatever
you need from it."
He added, quoting from "For-
rest Gump": " 'That's all I have to
say about that.'"
agreed, recalling an unpopular
portion of NMU's past campus
tours as an example of miscom-
munication between admissions
directors and tour guides.
"The tours would go past a big
music hall, which was a pretty stan-
dard stop. But hardlyanyone except
music students wanted to see that,"
Lombardini said, adding that tours
no longer include the music hail.
While Kallay reported around 85
percent of his clientele to be smaller
liberal arts schools like Albion, he
said larger public universities like
the University of Michigan always
have room for improvement.
"A lot of larger flagship universi-
ties present their campus experi-
ence really well, which is why so
many applicants choose them in
the end," Kallay said. "But I also
think they should offer a more cus-
Kallay cited personal elements
like themed tours, which focus
- ' .
more heavily on particular academ-
ic departments or student organi-
zations, and anecdotes from the
tour guide as improvements many
schools could make.
Regarding the' direction tour
guides face when they walk,'Kallay
"It's stressful to watch a person
walk backwards while talking at
you, and it can be distracting, but
our main focus is the feeling the
prospective students and their par-
ents are getting," Kallay said. "You
can walk backwards, forwards,
sideways - it doesn't matter if
Shipp agreed, saying that Uni-
versity of Michigan tour guides are
not instructed to face a particular
direction, only to engage all mem-
bers of the tour.
"College is fun, and somehow
we've made it seem like a challeng-
ing and daunting thing," Kallay
said. "Tours should dispel that."
From Page 1A
about the idea, he said, the more it
made sense and the more possible
Rather than renewing the lease
on his Chicago apartment or active-
ly hunting for a new job, Fairchild
decided to start planning his run
across the country.
"Everything just kind of lined
Fairchild also said he saw this
as an opportunity to raise money
for MS, drawing inspiration from
a friend who has suffered from the
disease for years.
MS research, Fairchild soon started
making plans for the 3,400-mile trip.
Figuring that he could travel about
30-35 miles per day, he estimated the
months, starting in August and end-
ing in mid-December.
"I really didn't do any training for
it, or anything like that," he said. "I
can run if I want or walk if I want,
I'm not really bound by a lot."
Fairchild mapped out a route
from Boston to Ann Arbor, and then
to Chicago where he would take
Route 66 to Los Angeles.
When he first started his journey,
Fairchild just used a compass point-
ing west, but now he uses Google
Maps to plan his route.
"Most of the planning I do now on
a day-to-day basis" he said. "I know
where 'm stopping almost every day,
but there's still the adventure of'who
knowswhat's going to happen?"
Fairchild walks along the side of
the highway, pushingthe modified
stroller with just the essentials -
water bottles, energy bars, a tent
and sleeping bag, a camera, a cou-
ple of books and a laptop to blog his
"That was one of the things Istart-
ed thinking about ... What if I had
nothing?" he said. "What if I really
gave itup and all I had was the stuffI
carried with meon the road? I'd still
have pretty much everything."
Fairchild considers his current
address as wherever he's sleeping
on a given night, and his home as
the road. When asked by a passing
driver if he needed a ride home, he
said he wasn't sure how to answer
"I kind of realized, well, right
here, I am home," he said. "Every
other step I take, that's now my
A typical diiy on the roadhbegins at
7 a.m., and Fairchild says it's "pretty
boring." His diet primarily consists
ofroadside £ t o,%andhe's learned
to predict his dining options from the
litter bythe side of the road.
Fairchild said he has used this
trip as an opportunity to meet inter-
esting people along the way.
"The first couple questions are
always almost the same and you're
wondering, 'Oh, is this going to be
the same kind of conversation,' "
he said, "And, you know, you never
know ... People can surprise you
From Page 1A
record of corruption and failure to
control Taliban violence makes his
projected win an unfavorable out-
come for the United States.
"Initially the Obama adminis-
tration was hoping the incumbent
Karzai would lose," he said.
International criticism over
the legitimacy of the results has
focused specifically on one-third
of the votes that went to Karzai.
Those ballots are now under
review, after the Electoral Com-
plaints Commission called for
recounts and forensic examina-
tions of ballot boxes in 10 per-
cent of polling places.
Suny argues that the failure
of the election extends beyond
its association with fraud and
low voter turnout prompted by
Taliban violence, and deeper
into more fundamental issues
that face a democratic election
held in a tribal nation.
"These kinds of elections are a
Western innovation," he said. "In
tribal societies these elections
don't quite operate the same way
(they do in the United States)."
Near Eastern Studies Prof.
of the election is another sign that
the U.S:s concept of democracy
may not work in countries with
different foundational structures.
their government and electoral
process the way they see fit with
the various religious tenants,
tribal system, etc.," Bardakjian
said. "It is not for us to decide.
Afghanistan is not a democratic
country, and I don't think it will
be in the foreseeable future."
Bardkajian said that the Unit-
ed States had "no business"being
in Afghanistan in the first place
and that the country "should
leave as soon as possible."
"(The election) is the strategy
to pull out," he said. "The only
way is to leave the country to a
legitimate government. This had
to happen sooner or later."
He added: "I hope we can with-
draw in an orderly fashion and let
them take matters through their
Cole said that the common argu-
ment to continue U.S. involvement
in the conflict is falling more and
more short by the day.
"The standard line in the United
States is that we are fighting this
so al-Qaida can't hit us," he said.
"There isn't actually any al-Qaida
in Afghanistan. So this is not a
very compelling argument."
Marwil said the recent call for
more U.S. troops to join the fight
by Adm. Mike Mullen, one of Pres-
ident Obama's top advisors in the
region, only complicates the issue.
"Support for Afghanistan in
America is draining like water out
of the bathtub," he said. "And if more
Americans are killed, then forget it."