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CCU Atheneum: Trailblazer McKenzie Lane
Trailblazer McKenzie Lane

Blazing a trail for future Chanticleers

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They are the first face of Coastal Carolina University for a lot of people – prospective students, their parents, families, even faculty and staff candidates.

They are Teal Trailblazers, formerly known as student tour guides. The tour guide program has been upgraded to give students more opportunities for growth and leadership.

"You have the ability to move your way up and eventually get an executive position," says Jerel Farris, a junior from Moore, one of four Teal Trailblazers student executives. Farris is in charge of hiring and training the 20 student tour guides.

Outgoing Trailblazers director Derek Doss (now associate director of admissions) says the new program "gives us a good opportunity to meet students who might want to stand out."

The four students on the executive board are learning professional skills. Dylan Lamb, of Taylors, schedules events, Farris is in charge of hiring and training, and Sarah Craig, of Hampton, N.J., works on programming. McKenzie Lane, a sophomore from Easley, is in charge of Coastal Greeters, a new program that allows freshmen to help out with Saturday tours.

The program is also growing from 20 students this past fall semester to 30 students in the spring. "We want to create a more personal experience," says Doss. "We want smaller [tour] groups. People view us like a private college so we need to act like one."

Lane, who has been a guide for two years now, says the Trailblazers program is an invaluable learning experience. "You really do learn all about your university, about every building, every little detail," she says. "You have to be able to answer random questions."

The most popular question she gets is: Is Coastal a party school?

`"I tell them it's about student involvement. It's what you make of it as a college student," says Lane.

So you might be wondering, what is the number one requirement for a student tour guide?

Personality, both students agree. ""Personality is what shows," says Farris. "You can learn the information, but it's all about personality."


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