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Each summer, the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh becomes a sort of Olympic Village of aviation.

The Experimental Aircraft Association’s globally-renown AirVenture fly-ins at Wittman Regional Airport brings guests from all over planet Earth to campus. UW Oshkosh’s Gruenhagen Conference Center and other campus residence halls serve as a home away from home for thousands of people enjoying the aviation and aerospace showcase that is AirVenture 2011, from July 22 through July 31.

This year, AirVenture will bring an estimated 4,500 people to campus for lodging, said Marc Nylen, director of Gruenhagen Conference Center.

“EAA AirVenture guests come from all 50 states, and many countries outside of the United States, as well. We will have guests from Australia, Brazil, Canada, England, France and New Zealand, just to name a few,” Nylen said.

Guests will begin arriving as early as Friday, June 22. After the convention wraps up, some travelers will remain on campus until Aug. 2.

So, in the spirit of civility and global hospitality, here’s a Top 10 list of tips gleaned from master-host Nylen and our long-standing, campus-AirVenture traditions to make UW Oshkosh’s guests feel most welcome:

10. Be a compass. Orange construction barrels, oversized trucks and workers are everywhere on campus. Plus, the construction work on High Avenue could cause a little congestion. However, one lane on High Avenue will remain open during AirVenture. Please use extra caution when traveling through campus.

9. Nothing says “welcome” like ice cream, especially during these hot days of summer. For the sixth consecutive year, the Department of Residence Life and Gruenhagen Conference Center will formally welcome AirVenture guests to campus at the UW Oshkosh Showcase Event, an ice cream social and meet and greet. The ice cream social will be held in the Gruenhagen Conference Center Badger State Room from 7 until 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 28. All are welcome!

8. Say hello to a stranger. Reeve Memorial Union will be busier than usual. Reeve is a tremendous resource for AirVenture guests and it should be expected that they will utilize Reeve Union Marketplace, University Books and More, Mi Taza and Titan Convenience Store (a great place to direct guests for those forgotten items). Plus, guests can drop letters and packages in the mail at Copy This and Titan Central.

7. Do you see someone who looks lost? Encourage guests to download the UW Oshkosh iPhone and Android app to view campus and parking maps on the go.

6.  For those who need help getting around town, a shuttle to and from the EAA grounds is provided daily for just $2. This service commences on Sunday, July 24 at 6:20 a.m., and continues through Sunday, July 31 at 7:45 p.m. Tickets and bus passes can be purchased in the Titan Lounge of Gruenhagen Conference Center.  This service is also available to any student, staff member or any other guest from the campus community who is attending AirVenture.

5. Restaurants throughout Oshkosh are generally packed. Instead, lead those with hungry bellies to Blackhawk Commons. Each day, a comprehensive meal is offered.

4. There will be an influx of cars parked on campus, be patient when hunting for a parking spot and try to stay away from the lots near Gruenhagen and the parking ramp, if possible.

3. For those who haven’t had enough exercise walking around the AirVenture grounds, daily guests passes are available for purchase ($5) for the Student Recreation & Wellness Center.

2. When all else fails, direct people with questions to the staff at Gruenhagen. All EAA staff members are easy to spot, just look for someone wearing a blue polo shirt. Or, call the front desk at (920) 424-1106.

1. Don’t forget to tell our great UW Oshkosh story. From the new Sage Hall and Horizon Village to the University’s sustainability efforts, there’s a lot going on. Or, direct people to UW Oshkosh Today for the latest news updates.

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