What used to be the Mac Boring Room at University of Texas Permian Basin has been transformed into the Welcome Center.

Welcome Center Coordinator Logan Wilson said there is a selfie wall for prospective students to take a photo and share it on social media.

They can include their plans for a major and tag the welcome center.

They have a mini fridge, water bottles with the university logo on them and what they call Sonic Ice, which is a big attraction.

“We call it the good ice. Who doesn’t love crushed ice,” Wilson said.

A coffee bar also is available. There are flat screens with a video running about UTPB. Information also is available on Instagram Stories or by phone.

“When they’re here, we turn on the sound, but unless we have a tour come in we usually don’t have it running. Our Welcome Center … is basically for prospective students that are interested in joining the university. They go online, set up a tour, it comes to me and then when we have one of our amazing student workers or myself, give them a tour of the campus and show them housing, let them meet with professors and kind of just get a feel of what’s the university’s like and let their parents know that it’s going to be a fun, safe experience here,” Wilson said.

Wilson is the only full time employee, but the center has four student workers.

“… We really want the families and the prospective students to feel what the experience is like from an actual student, so they can share their experiences. We try to match up if a student’s coming in for athletics, or interested in something in particular we try to match up that student with one of our student workers so they can share what it’s like to be a student athlete on campus, and what’s it like to have to go to classes, work here, and go to all your games and practices,” Wilson said.

Current students can also use the Welcome Center to use the Wi-Fi, hang out, and grab a water.

“We do have places all over campus that they can hang out, but we want this to be a place, too. This year we’ve had over 230 families and tours already … even with COVID. We try to make it as welcoming and fun as possible because all those different families, they all come from different backgrounds and religious backgrounds and so we really want it to be an (open) and inviting campus for all people,” she added.

The space that is now the Welcome Center used to be used as a classroom and for space when people were having their offices renovated.

Wilson said it’s necessary for UTPB to have a center like this to show students and families that there is a good place for their child to come and feel safe.

“… It’s very important that people feel welcome, even if it’s not even a prospective student; if it’s a guest. You can come in here, grab a water and head to a meeting … or if a student on campus needs to know where the financial aid office is we can offer them a water, coffee and then walk them over there … We want to make sure that they know where to go if they have any questions so we can help them,” Wilson said.

The financial aid, enrollment, police department, registrar and other offices are close by.

The center keeps information about the university on a counter so they can take it and be escorted where they need to go.

“… Regardless if you’re new or you’ve been here for a few semesters, you’re always going to have questions pop up,” Wilson said.

She tries to have information about events on hand whether it’s vaccines, a movie or Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) night. The next one is 5:30 p.m. Oct. 4. People can also get help filling out an application for the university.

If they need a mask, the welcome center has some and there is a charging station.

Wilson has been the Welcome Center coordinator for a little over two years. The center was originally located at the Mesa Building and sort of resembled a concession stand.

Wilson showed a plaque and the ribbon that she got to cut for the grand opening of the Welcome Center.

“I was so honored ..,” Wilson said.