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The “Villanova Virtual Visit,” a project that was in development by University Communications and Marketing for three years, launched this past summer.

The Virtual Visit is a new and interactive tour that allows prospective and current students, as well as parents, alumni and faculty to explore the University’s campus through a computer or mobile device.

It is a portal packed with information about the University, as well as its history, mission, legacy and students, created to give a greater number of prospective students the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the campus by offsetting the costs of travelling.

The project began in October 2011, and was developed by the University’s Marketing team. It was beta tested by several members of the faculty as well as the student body and officially launched in July.

Grouped under five main headers, “Academic Excellence,”  “Personal Attention,” “Strong Community,”  “Service to Others” and “Lifelong Success,” the tour features more than 500 video commentaries by students on a wide array of subjects such as Freshman Orientation, Learning Communities, international community,  service, Greek Life and study.

Students shared stories about their experiences at the University, a personal touch that was not felt before this tool was launched.

“Life on Villanova’s campus is very special to me,” said Jay Tighe, class of ’13, in one such video about campus community.  “All around us, we feel the Augustinian emphasis on community and building a family.”

Well-known campus luminaries, including Meghan Keita, Jay Wright and Fr. David Cregan O.S.A., among others, appear in the commentaries as well to provide a different perspective from those of the student body.

“I think Villanova University has the most unique fans in college athletics in that they’re as passionate as anyone in the country, “ said Jay Wright in a video on University athletics, “but I also think they’re sophisticated in that they really respect that the student athletes compete hard on the field, but they also take very seriously their commitment to academics and their commitment to being a part of the Villanova community.”  The tour also features several maps: a campus map, a Philadelphia area map and a regional map. The Philadelphia area and regional maps highlight the campus’s proximity to nearby major cities.

The campus map is a detailed graphic recreation of the University, with the option to click and learn about every building and facility on campus.

In an option entitled “Walking Tour,” the site recreates the traditional Blue Key tour by having two student voiceovers lead visitors around the campus and offer commentary on its buildings and traditions. Another option is “What is Villanova’s History?” which features a timeline dating from the establishment of the first Augustinian church, to the founding of the University, to the present day, which offers interesting, little-known details such as the fact that the college closed during the Civil War and that President William Taft received an honorary degree.

“It is important that people are not only aware of Villanova University, but also what makes the Villanova experience distinctive,” said Ann Diebold, vice president of University Communication. “The Virtual Visit allows us to use our most powerful spokespeople—our students, faculty and alumni—to share with prospective students the impact spending four years at our University could have.”

The virtual tour provides visitors and prospective students across the country as well as internationally the chance to get explore the University in a very personalized manner from the comforts of their own home.

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