On Saturday, October 19th, the Wilson College of Textiles opened its doors to over 500 prospective students and members of the Raleigh community during a campus-wide open house. Attendees of all ages were welcomed with demonstrations, activities and information sessions that challenged them to discover, learn, and engage with textiles. 

The Wilson College of Textiles Open House is one of the best ways for prospective students to learn about the college in a brief period of time. Attendees ensured their future success by hearing from current faculty and students and sitting in on informational sessions about our degree options, scholarships and pre-college programs. While touring the college, they were also able to explore the great resources students, faculty, and professionals utilize daily and discover all the unique applications of textiles through captivating activities. Students got the chance to test protective gear, weave bracelets, identify fibers and much more! 

Open House attendees try on protective gear.

Future students weren’t the only ones joining in on the fun. Visitors of all ages and backgrounds were able to interact with textiles at the Open House. Delisha Hinton, Associate Director of Student Services for Recruitment and Diversity, describes some of the most popular activities: “I saw a lot of people with cotton candy! We provided cotton candy for people as a form of an edible nonwoven. Most people don’t know what a nonwoven is, but we use them every day to have clean water and air, to clean our floors using a Swiffer, to dryer sheets and more. We also provided people the opportunity to tie-dye and screen print a shirt, which are things people enjoy doing, but rarely does someone think about how this process is developed or how color influences our daily lives.”

This was the first year Wilson College extended an invitation to everyone in the Raleigh community. Hinton explains why: “Throughout the year, we have schools, prospective students, retirement home communities, alumni, industry and more reach out who would like to visit the college. So, a few of us thought why not expand Open House to everyone to attend.” With the addition of these groups, Wilson College saw a 400% increase in participation over last year. Hinton was excited about this success and is looking forward to its lasting impact, “We really felt like we achieved our goal of reaching out to additional audience groups who would be interested in visiting Wilson College and are looking forward to having more visitors in the future… We hope the Raleigh community and beyond will consider visiting during future Open Houses. Many people think the textile industry is dead and gone.  [By] expanding the Open House, we took the opportunity to educate people on the textile industry and demystify the thought that textiles is a dead industry.” 

Open House attendees examine textile machinery.

The Open House was a great opportunity for one group in particular: scouts! Tywanna Johnson, Executive Assistant of the Textile and Apparel Technology and Management (TATM) department, plays a vital role in both Wilson College and the greater community, serving as a Girl Scout troop leader and president of her granddaughter’s PTA. To develop exciting programming for visiting scouts, Dr. Lisa Chapman, Associate Professor in the TATM department, partnered with Johnson and together, they created a plan for scouts to earn their cybersecurity merit badge. Scouts were taught about different parts of the computer and cybersecurity issues. Then, they were given the chance to create their own artwork, which they scanned onto the computer to a larger format HP digital textile printer, creating their own custom printed fabric. This was an incredible opportunity for youth in the community to learn about textiles while working with some of the textile technology available at Wilson College.

Though the Open House has ended, there are still many ways to connect with the Wilson College of Textiles. Those interested in learning more should visit the college website, schedule a visit, or register for the spring 2020 TEXday.