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SUNY Potsdam receives top honor for virtual campus tour

Virtual tour top honor


POTSDAM — SUNY Potsdam has received an award for its one-of-a-kind virtual campus tour.

The college’s online tour took best of category at the annual SUNY Council for University Advancement Awards for Excellence ceremony, held June 9 in Saratoga Springs. The tour was recognized in the division of electronic communications and interactive media for its dynamic interface as well as its creative and clean design.

“It’s completely unique — there’s nothing else like it on the Web in terms of the navigation interface or the dynamic relationships,” said Deborah L. Dudley, the college’s director of marketing and communications. “Really you are exploring Potsdam based on your own interests as an individual. That’s how we want students to come to the college: we want you to explore your personal interests and passions, so we set up the tour to mimic that.”

Unlike most virtual college tours, SUNY Potsdam’s is self-led and customizable based on users’ interests. It begins as a blank page upon which free-floating bubbles appear and interconnect based on users’ searches, ultimately creating a web of photographs and videos about SUNY Potsdam people, buildings, activities and organizations rather than an aerial map of grounds and buildings.

The bubbles can be selected and moved at will: drag one across the screen and the rest, like helium balloons tethered to a string, will follow. Although the dynamic software is not intended to replace the actual campus visit, Ms. Dudley said, the virtual tour is a good starting point for prospective students.

“What I hope is that it gives people a good sense of our personality and the creative aspect of our campus,” Ms. Dudley said. “It’s always great to have something new and innovative and different from your peers because it sets you apart, but what’s more important is that it’s representative of the true experience at Potsdam.”

The tour was designed by the college’s public affairs team and was developed with the help of the admissions office and the Maryland-based IDFive design firm. According to Ms. Dudley, it is still a work in progress: the college hopes to see the tour’s content double within the next year.



The SUNY Potsdam tour: