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University lures prospective students with virtual reality

April 2, 2018

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The University of Oregon is using a new ploy to garner the attention of prospective college students.

The Eugene-based university, as part of its latest recruitment marketing initiative, UO 360, is sending out cardboard virtual reality goggles to all domestic undergraduate students it has accepted, The Register-Guard reported .

The goggles, along with a smartphone and free app, allow prospective students to make a “highly immersive” visit to the university’s campus, University of Oregon enrollment spokeswoman Lauren Miller said.

The virtual reality experience offers prospective students the opportunity to walk with fans to Autzen Stadium, the home of the Oregon Ducks football team, and then ride into it on the Duck’s motorcycle. They also can watch a pottery class in a campus studio or partake in a student musical performance.

“It’s really beautiful video and photo work,” Miller said. “It’s an experience (and) we hope it helps persuade (prospective students).”

The initiative comes after five straight years of declining undergraduate enrollment at the university.

The University of Oregon spent $230,000 on UO 360, not including staff time, according to university officials.

The cardboard goggles, which cost less than $3 a pair to make, were mailed to 20,000 prospective students.

The virtual reality goggles are being paired with another new initiative, the university’s “Flight Crew,” a team of existing students that will be available to answer applicants’ questions about the school via text message.

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Information from: The Register-Guard, http://www.registerguard.com

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