CampusGroups Module Provides Innovative Twist to Virtual Events
By Mark Kramer
Many events are now virtual at the University of Houston-Downtown and the new CampusGroups technology that launched this semester is giving a boost to community engagement.
One of the innovative features of the platform is the Virtual Fair Module, which allows groups to host events with multiple vendors and provide attendee-vendor interaction. Where in-person events allow for faculty, staff and students to visit vendors’ tables, the Virtual Fair Module creates an interactive template with vendors’ logos. Event attendees can click on these vendors’ logos to chat and ask questions.
The Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning (CCESL) recently held its annual Community Partners Fair in mid-October using the new technology and was pleased with the results.
“It was simple to get started with CampusGroups. All students, staff, and faculty have an active account using their UHD credentials,” said Caroline Smith, CCESL Assistant Director. “CampusGroups provides a number of training videos to help guide users through the process of setting up a virtual fair and hosts regular training sessions each month which staff and faculty can virtually attend.”
Smith training webinars were helpful in planning her event, noting that it gave her “a better understanding on how to set up the virtual fair.”
During the CCESL event, vendors had more than 230 booth visits.
“The features that attendees enjoyed the most was the ease of visiting with people through the chat function of the platform and being able visit to face-to-face time through Zoom,” Smith said.
In addition, UHD’s Office of Study Abroad used the module when they hosted their Study Abroad Fair in September.
“Our vendors showed videos and presented information on studying or interning abroad for spring, summer and fall 2021,” said Ali Maghoo, Associate Director for Study Abroad. “We had 158 booths visited and a comment from a vendor that this study abroad fair was well attended and very organized.”
UHD Student Activities launched the CampusGroups program at the beginning of September as a hub where campus organizations can manage their pages and make updates. It can be downloaded through the Apple App Store, Google Play or by visiting the UHD website.
The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.
U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.