Virtual Reality: UHD Style
By Sheryl E. Taylor
It’s been almost five years since UHD introduced a virtual tour component to its online offerings for prospective students, visitors, alumni, and friends to learn about the University’s dynamic campus.
Recently, the Office of University Relations in UHD’s Division of Advancement reimagined the campus experience with new additions to the virtual tour. The updated tour now boasts 17 stops plus walks between stops as well as new stops – Food for Change Market, eSports, Bayou Trail (which runs alongside the College of Sciences & Technology Building and the new Wellness & Success Center), and UHD Northwest. The interactive experience is also available in Spanish.
“Through collaborations with campus colleagues in the Office of Admissions and by asking the right questions, we were able to gain a better understanding of what are the critical needs for our visitors, especially prospective students, regarding our Campus Community,” said Laura Waits, Executive Director of Marketing. “Our campus geography can be challenging to describe, and this virtual experience provides a perspective of the campus’ proximity to major highways and the ‘feel’ of how the campus sits in Downtown.”
Kristin Raymond, Interim Director of Admissions & Recruitment, added, “Higher education has had to evolve, particularly in recent years, to expand its reach and provide even more digital resources and virtual options to prospective students. Providing needed information to prospective students via all social media platforms, as well as enhancing existing videos, and streamlining virtual content, supplements and serves to help duplicate services that are taking place in person on campus. UHD serves all students, from traditional first-time-in college to nontraditional and returning students. The accessibility of digital content and virtual resources speaks to the added convenience of what UHD strives to offer all students.”
In 2022, UHD’s virtual tour, powered by You Visit, amassed more than 6,000 unique visitors viewing the campus virtually. And nearly 25% of these visitors went even further to learn more about the University.
Waits pointed out what a phenomenal asset the virtual tour was for prospective students during the pandemic. “It was such a great product to invite online visitors to learn about UHD when they couldn’t visit in person,” noted Waits. “When visitors come to our website, they not only learn about our University, they also get a 360-degree view of our campus footprint that sits in the heart of Downtown Houston.”
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.