Virtually On Campus
By Jesy Odio '15
Published Apr 27, 2015 8:00 AM
New online tour of UCLA is almost like being there.
It’s your first time standing on top of Janss Steps and there is not a cloud in sight. A few “clicks” away and you are now facing the two large towers of Royce Hall. Meanwhile, the voice of a student shares with you the history behind the iconic building and the contemporary artists that have performed there recently. But instead of strolling around UCLA, you are pressing arrows on your computer screen, browsing the campus through an online tour, from the comfort of your own home.
With more than 20 different interactive landmarks, facilitated by the virtual reality platform YouVisit, UCLA is now part of the immersive audiovisual experience of virtual reality. With the tour covering many corners and pockets of the university grounds, the campus has never before been this accessible online, 24 hours a day and around the world. If a picture says a thousand words, an online tour of the campus might just leave you speechless.
“If someone says to you, ‘meet me at The Bruin,' they’re talking about this bronze statue of UCLA’s mascot,” says the voice-over narration as you make your way digitally down to Ackerman Union. Sections of campus come with audio pieces and occasional photos, videos and 360-degree views.
“We wanted it to feel like a student was giving the tour,” says Director of Undergraduate Admissions Gary Clark. “It’s important to feel like you’re hearing the voice of someone you might run into on campus.”
No longer must prospective students rely on photographs to imagine what it’s like to climb Bruin Walk. Alumni living far away can virtually visit the newest addition to the campus, the Ostin Music Center. YouVisit confidently assures “virtual experiences drive real results,” and Clark is confident this will not decrease the number of visitors to Westwood. “If students are interested, then they will still come and visit the campus,” he says. The site is even enabled by GPS, so it can also function as a complimentary guide while you physically visit the campus.
YouVisit now offers virtual tours to hotels, venues and restaurants from all across the globe, but the idea behind this virtual platform began from the importance of college tours. It all started when two international students, Endri Tolka and Abi Mendelbaum, attending Brandeis University in Massachusetts wished for a way for applicants to better envision themselves on college campuses. If college visits were not so paramount and exhilarating, then this virtual reality site would not be here today.
Via computer, tablet and mobile device, the UCLA campus is now available at a virtual reality near you.