By Nicola Drosche –
Duck Camp, as generations of Tarleton students know it, will go away- if the university accepts a proposal from a consultant it paid $500,000. The consultants at Noel-Levitz have offered TSU numerous suggestions to develop more efficient systems in enrollment management, student success, financial aid, scholarships, and marketing. One suggestion made by Whitney Adams in a report sent to Tarleton urged the university to cancel the off-campus Duck Camp and host orientation entirely on campus:
“I strongly encourage you to consider an intensive orientation experience that reaches virtually the entire entering class. Given resource constraints, it is likely that such a program would have to be on campus and not off, but the benefits for all participants could lead to significant improvements in engagement and retention.”
Since its beginnings in 1995, Duck Camp has been held at various off-campus locations around Texas. If implemented, the suggestion made by consultant Whitney Adams would change Duck Camp into a more orientation-like event held on campus that more incoming students would be able to attend. The students of Tarleton might be the toughest challenge such a change might face. As former Duck Camp leader Brooke Wilson said, “The long-going tradition of duck camp being off campus is loved by the majority of the student body.”
However, not all students are opposed to the change. Emily VanKirk, Duck Camp attendee and leader, said that a new program would provide students with a “greater chance to become familiar with campus and it would be a more realistic immersion experience of college life.” She also said that it “would highly benefit Tarleton and it’s students, as well as further limiting costs and potential liabilities currently associated with Duck Camp.” Wilson agrees that the current system “provides little knowledge of the actual college campus and classroom experience [and that] allowing students to experience the academic setting would be beneficial.” Wilson even made a suggestion of her own, “Maybe using Hunewell Ranch would provide a good off-campus feel while still being on Tarleton property.”
Rod Davis, Associate VP for Marketing & Communications, was not available for comment.