Newly-launched virtual tour showcases SRU campus

Published by adviser, Author: Daniel DiFabio - Rocket Contributor, Date: February 3, 2016
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A newly-launched interactive virtual tour shows off the Slippery Rock University campus to prospective students.

Kayla Hersperger, an online design and communication specialist for Slippery Rock University, said the tour is primarily used for people at home to view the campus.

“One of our strategies is to increase our international recruitment, and the tour helps because they can’t always come to campus,” Hersperger said.

The virtual tour is also for out-of-state students or anyone who is considering SRU, she said.

Hersperger said that data and research show that students make their decision after seeing the campus, and she hopes the virtual tour will inspire more students to register for visitation programs.

Development started when the SRU chose the virtual tour company YouVisit to work with their ideas. Photos were taken of the campus and scripts were made, and then they went through revision. Hersperger then added videos and additional photos to each tour stop to give the full picture of each stop. The last part of the process consisted of installing code on areas with high web traffic to direct to the tour. The virtual tour went live on the SRU website Jan. 29.

The tour is self-guided, allowing users to pick which buildings they want to visit.

“If there’s somebody who comes to the campus and wants to tour not during admission hours [they] can actually pull up the tour on their phone and it will walk them around campus,” Hersperger said.

The buildings shown on the tour were chosen based on what programs they housed and if they were recently renovated.

“There’s also plans to enhance the graduate tour to show the new physician assistant facility that is being built,” Hersperger said. “As new majors come in every year, we’ll be enhancing the tour and making it better and showcasing what the university has to offer.”

Hersperger said that Google Cardboard, a virtual reality tool used with a mobile phone, will be used during high school visits to help students experience being on campus. The tour can be downloaded from app stores, with the virtual reality using panoramas of the campus. Hersperger said one recruitment tactic being worked on is to mail prospective students Google Cardboard branded with SRU logos, so they can use their phones and start the tour right from their house.

“We’re hoping that this tour helps our recruitment efforts,” Hersperger said. “Our big push is to get students on campus and showcase the SRU experience.”

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