Objective:
As a recognizable leader with a long standing reputation as one of the top 5 nationally acclaimed post-secondary institutions, the University of Alberta (U of A) hosts its annual Open House event in October every year for prospective students and their families, high school teachers, and counsellors.

The event is an opportunity to showcase the University of Alberta as a leading post-secondary institution and to appeal to potential students as their preferred institution for enrollment. For the first time — based on necessity of the circumstances caused by COVID-19 — the event was moved to an entirely virtual format.

With only a few short months (i.e. a quarter of the planning time of year’s past) the U of A Open House planning team knew they would have to respond quickly with a creative and innovative approach to upholding “the largest recruitment event of the year” amidst the uncertain recruitment landscape of Fall 2020.

The Tycoon Events team was hired to support an event that was focused on creating connections between the campus community and prospective students, from a virtual environment.

Outcome:
While the University of Alberta’s Open House had to pivot online, out of necessity, there were some new and exciting opportunities that may not have been possible, otherwise.

Using the 6Connex virtual event platform, allowed an interactive, and almost VR-like approach to bringing the campus experience online with expanded accessibility. Based on where we landed with the event design, a three-day format allowed students (incl. parents/guardians) to tailor their experience based on ‘what’ specific information they were looking for and ‘when’ it was of best fit within their schedule, to attend.

Similarly, a variety of programming was offered to include pre-recorded, simu-live, and live-stream. These different programming opportunities allowed each exhibitor to educate, while offering practical (and downloadable) resources that created experiences to resonate in a meaningful way, to varying demographics.

Three critical goals for prospective students were to create the opportunities to:  

  • Learn and Explore: Students will be able to digitally explore the campus, learn about our program options, lean into student life, and so much more.
  • Meet and Ask Questions: Students will get a feel for the campus community through personalized interaction and engagement with peers, professors, campus staff, and alumni.
  • Leave with the Essence and Pride of the Green-and-Gold Culture: In finding the right fit in a post secondary institution, prospective students will want to get a feel for who they will meet, how they will feel, what challenges they will overcome, and what sense of community they would leave with.

Over the course of three days, Virtual Open House 2020 had over 4,530 attendees take part in their event. 

Watch the video below to see how it all came together:

To learn more about our event planning experience, check out our blog: University of Alberta 2020 Gets A Virtual Makeover.