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Behind the scenes: Sonya Fenn

Our Open Days are a chance for thousands of visitors to get a taste of what it's like to live and study at Warwick.

Find out what's involved from the people who help to make it all happen.

Sonya FennSonya Fenn

Recruitment and Marketing co-ordinator, Student Admissions and Recruitment Office
Role for Open Days: Campus tours and reallocation manager

My usual job involves...

I manage the Warwick Welcome Service (WWS), so I approve timesheets and choose student ambassadors to fulfil job opportunities - sometimes at short notice, as little as one day in advance - as well as providing references for graduating WWS members.

I’m also in charge of updating the WWS web pages, planning recruitment events and liaising with members of staff internally and externally.

My role for Open Days involves...

We begin planning months in advance due to it being one of the University’s largest operations.

Because of the numbers involved we need to recruit many Warwick Welcome Service. I handle the advertising and recruitment, arrange uniforms and handle the administration and communication - including sorting things out if anyone drops out at the last minute!

I organise the logistics of porters, catering, retail, emergency services and signage. I'm also responsible for the early starters groups who support the 'Park and Ride' service, the 'Welcome tent' other areas. I am one of the core team who pack up the 'yorkies' with everything that will be required on the day.

On the day, we provide a briefing and register all of the students. We then assign them the areas they will be working in. I'm based in the Registration Tent where I keep a log so that I can move the WWS to other areas where they are needed most, keeping in touch with staff via walkie talkies. Then at the end of the day I sign out the student ambassadors and thank them for all their hard work.

What I enjoy the most is...

the recruitment, because it’s great talking to the students and finding the right person for the job.

I allocate roles according to each individual's experience - so someone living in Rootes would give tours of the Rootes accommodation, and an Engineering student would do the Engineering department tours, for example. That can be juggled right up to the day itself.

I also enjoy how frantic it can be, and the challenge of getting the right person in the right place at the right time - I love coming up with innovative ways to encourage people to take on a task at short notice!

What's special about Open Days is...

the sense of achievement when all of the hard work is paid off. The WWS ambassadors work really hard and smile all day. Even when things don't go according to plan, everyone always manages to keep a sense of humour and react to situations in a positive and professional manner.

If there was one thing I could change about Open Days it would be...

extra help from some departments, as occasionally it can be difficult to arrange talks and show off how great the department is.

I would like to be able to guarantee sunshine!

Not everyone knows that...

there are only five core members of staff who put the open day together, so planning, administration, phones, e-mails, logistics and packing up is all done by these five individuals.

And there are lots of sweets to keep us motivated!

My top tips for our visitors

Enjoy your day!

Make the most of it while you’re here.

Book on as many subject talks as you require and make sure you have a good look around campus and the accommodation.

The first impressions really count and you need to feel happy with your choice.


Enjoyed hearing from Sonya? Read more from some of our other volunteers