Spring brings an influx of visitors to the Pullman campus — especially prospective students and their families. But WSU’s desire to greet visitors cordially knows no season; the university is always working to ensure that guests experience a pleasant stay and leave with good impressions. Although it may seem minor, parking plays a pivotal role in that effort, and the WSU Visitor Center is working diligently to make sure the outcome is positive.

In place since 1997, the Visitor Center’s Good Host parking program allows colleges and departments to coordinate with the Visitor Center to greet their guests, provide them with parking permits and campus maps, and give them directions to their campus destinations. Since the Visitor Center is in an easy-to-find downtown location, it is a logical and welcoming first stop, said Chris Boyan, administrative outreach manager for WSU Parking, Transportation and Visitor Center.

“Our goal is to help departments roll out the red carpet and make that all-important first impression on university guests,” he said. “The Good Host program is one tool departments can use to accomplish this goal.”

More than 80 departments already pre-arrange parking with the WSU Visitor Center to greet and direct their guests to campus. These efforts have significantly reduced the risk of parking tickets being issued to visitors, Boyan said.

“No matter how well we treat our guests, if they have a yellow ticket when they return to their car, all our efforts are in vain,” he said.

He encourages more departments to contact the Visitor Center at 335-8633 to take advantage of the Good Host program.

As it is, university guests often stop at the Visitor Center on their way out of town, Boyan said. They use the restrooms, get some free gourmet coffee for the road or shop the satellite Bookie store for WSU merchandise. The Good Host program expands that service by providing a convenient stop for guests to gather information at the beginning of their WSU visit.

“We do whatever it takes to get visitors where they need to be in a courteous, efficient manner,” he said.

The Visitor Center, which opened in July 1996, has seen visitor contacts grow from 18,237 in fiscal year 1997 to 29,276 in fiscal year 2004. Contacts include prospective students and parents, friends, college and department guests, consultants and company representatives, students, faculty, staff, community members and tourists.

Hours are Monday-Friday, 7 a.m.-4 p.m. The Visitor Center also is open some Saturdays throughout the year.