While thousands of inebriated college students gallivanted along the beach for Floatopia, the campus filled with prospective students and their families for the university’s largest information session of the year.

This year’s Spring Insight, which began at 9 a.m. and lasted until 3 p.m., littered the campus with tabling clubs, campus organizations and academic departments eager to entice visitors to attend UCSB. Throughout the day, the estimated crowd of 4,500 students and their families had the opportunity to attend campus and housing tours, presentations, informational fairs and several faculty lectures.

“This is a very dynamic day that the Admissions office and the Visitor Center work hard to put together in collaboration with the campus,” Tour Coordinator and Admissions Counselor Anil Gnanamuthu said. “We really appreciate the staff, faculty and many volunteer students who make this day possible.”

Although Spring Insight attracted a large number of prospective students, this year’s event saw half as many visitors than in 2008, when the university recorded more than 10,000 people descending on campus for the open house.

Visitor Center Manager Gina Gonzales said Spring Insight is the ideal event for prospective students to explore the various academic and extracurricular opportunities available on campus.

“The purpose of Spring Insight is to welcome both admitted and prospective students,” Gonzales said. “It offers an opportunity on a weekend to really explore what UCSB has to offer. I’m hoping visitors feel welcome [and that] campus folk feel involved. They are a very important part of recruitment.”

Deborah McCleister, Undergraduate Advisor for Religious Studies, said the fairs and information booths were beneficial, allowing visitors to mingle with campus volunteers.

“We have the opportunity to interact with prospective students and their parents and explain about our programs,” McCleister said. “Lots of people are just shopping around right now.”

Besides taking a tour and collecting fliers from the various academic and extracurricular fairs, prospective Gauchos had the chance to attend presentations from the College of Letters and Science, College of Engineering and College of Creative Studies. Some highlights included faculty lectures on topics ranging from music to immigration, and incoming students also had the opportunity to attend a presentation offering advice on how to succeed in the first year of college.

With 54,758 applications for undergraduate admission to the campus for fall 2009, many of the high school graduates who were extended an opportunity to enroll at UCSB came prepared to decide whether or not they want to be Gauchos in the fall. Prospective students have until May 1 to submit their Statement of Intent to Register.