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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.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD)—the second-largest university in Houston—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 more than 15,000 students; boasts more than 60,000 alumni and offers 45 bachelor’s, nine master’s degree programs and 16 fully online programs within five colleges (Marilyn Davies College of Business; Humanities & Social Sciences; Public Service; Sciences & Technology; and University College).

For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranks UHD among universities across the nation for Best Online Criminal Justice Programs (No. 27 and No. 15 for Veterans) and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs.

UHD has the most affordable tuition among four-year universities in Houston and one of the lowest in Texas. U.S. News ranked the University among Top Performers on Social Mobility and a No. 1 ranking as the most diverse institution of higher education in the southern region of the U.S. The University is noted nationally as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Minority-Serving Institution and Military Friendly School. For more on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit www.uhd.edu.