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Published: Wednesday, 1/30/2013 - Updated: 1 year ago

BGSU, visitors bureau join in welcome center

BY VANESSA McCRAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
The Bowling Green State University/Bowling Green Visitors Center is to be a collaboration between the university and the convention and visitors bureau where students can get field experience. The Bowling Green State University/Bowling Green Visitors Center is to be a collaboration between the university and the convention and visitors bureau where students can get field experience.
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BOWLING GREEN — Bowling Green State University students studying tourism will help out at a visitors center for the campus and community.

About 10 students will assist the Bowling Green Convention and Visitors Bureau in staffing the BGSU/ Bowling Green Visitors Center just off East Wooster Street, not far from the I-75 exit.

The university signed a two-year agreement with the convention and visitors bureau to operate the center under a new partnership and name.

It is to open Monday after being closed about two months for remodeling. An official grand opening will be later.

The center is in a small building prominently located between the university stadium and the Stroh Center, near where Stadium Drive meets Alumni Drive. University parking staff previously operated the visitors center.

Students in the tourism, leisure, and event planning program who help at the visitors center will earn credit for the field experience.

The program enrolls more than 200 students and has graduates working in industries such as travel planning, event organizing, and on cruise ships.

Program coordinator Travis Heggie said students learn in the classroom, but the “real application” takes place “when you are out in the field doing the work.”

“For this particular opportunity it gives a chance for students to interact with the [Convention and Visitors Bureau] operation,” he said.

Students in a tourism class last semester helped develop an operations plan for the center along with guidance from the convention and visitors bureau.

BGSU will pay the bureau $18,000 a year to hire a supervisor and pay for supplies and other operating costs.

The bureau’s executive director, Wendy Stram, who has worked with BGSU students for years, said the center location adds visibility for her organization, which will maintain its Court Street office.

She said savvy travelers will seek out the bureau’s downtown location. But for those hopping off the nearby interstate, the campus center will be a convenient satellite site.

Efforts are under way to erect signs on I-75 alerting motorists to the center, which will display pamphlets for local restaurants and businesses.

The university previously sold visitor parking passes at the center and plans to install a kiosk later this semester so drivers can purchase passes, said BGSU spokesman Dave Kielmeyer, who added that a partnership between the university and bureau “was a collaboration that makes sense.”

The center will be open year-round to greet and assist visitors to the campus and community. Its hours will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, and by request on Sunday.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: vmccray@theblade.com or 419-724-6065.



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