A new virtual reality tour of EKU was announced Friday, September 22. The tour shows the majority of campus and some of the surrounding area in full 360 degree virtual reality and supports most VR headsets that use a smartphone for the screen.

“EKU – Experience in VR” can be downloaded through the App Store and the Google Play Store. The YouVisit website also has a version of the tour that can be used in a web browser at youvist.com/eku.

YouVisit has made virtual reality tours for big brands such as Swarovski, Zumba and The Weather Channel; and for major universities such as Harvard, Yale and Princeton.

YouVisit was a winner at VR Fest, a Webby honoree and was an official selection for Samsung Creator Awards in both sports and travel.

When picking what college to attend, the layout of the campus can be a deciding factor for many prospective students. However, making time to visit a university and explore the campus on a tour can be hard to schedule, especially for out-of-state students.

EKU introduced a solution for all the times when an on-campus visit is not practical for a student or their family. The EKU Office of Admissions has teamed with Youvisit to create this immersive virtual tour of campus.

Using 3-D photography, interactive scenes and narration by four current EKU students, the university is bringing the experience of a college tour to any desktop, laptop or mobile device anywhere in the world.

The tour was filmed during Summer 2017 and will be updated annually to capture campus changes, including the new dining hall in January 2018 and the new student rec center and renovated student union by 2020.

In an EKU press release, Maya Mapp, associate director of admissions, praised the app as an alternative to a visit to campus for students who were unable to travel or find time for a visit.

“Because this can be accessed anywhere in the world, we want the prospoective students from farther distances to be able to experience ‘The Campus Beautiful’ as if they were here,” Mapp stated in the press release.

EKU students were asked their opinions on “EKU – Experience in VR.” However, most students said they haven’t heard about the app and aren’t sure how to feel about it.

“I haven’t seen the app, but I think it would be very helpful,” said Clarissa Baker, 20, junior public relations major from Mount Sherman. “It’s a practical alternative for potential students from out-of-state to tour the campus without having to travel to do so.”

Even though Baker has not used the app, she said the fact that prospective students will be able to use the app without having to schedule an on-campus tour. She added that the app is a convenient source of information.

“I really like the idea,” said Rachel Martin, 20, junior communication major from Ashland. “I think it’s a cooler look into what campus really looks like and what to expect especially with all of the changes that are taking place on campus.”

The Eastern Progress has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to acquire a copy of the contract between EKU and YouVisit, and will follow-up with a story on the budget for the YouVisit tour.

For more information on embedding the virtual tour or using its contents, contact Maya Mapp at Maya.Mapp@eku.edu or Wesley Gift at Wesley.Gift@eku.edu.