Fairfield University debuts reality video series "Live the Life"

Online tour tells the story about student life

Image: virtual tourLike an episode from a TV reality show, Fairfield University has produced and released its first online campus virtual tour entitled "Live the Life." The unique modular video series is centered on two students, who have their daily lives videotaped to show what happens on a college campus.

"Live the Life" is an innovative way for the admissions office to show, in streaming video, what it's really like to attend one of the most prestigious Jesuit universities in the nation. Through an online experience, prospective Fairfield University students worldwide can watch a variety of videos, and experience college life from a first person perspective. School officials are hoping the technology and videos will inspire prospective high school students to engage and visit the university.

Rama Sudhakar, vice president for marketing and communications, said the interactive virtual tour is intended for prospective students and parents, and has many different segments showcasing the daily life of a Fairfield student. Sudhakar points out the virtual tour will be helpful to prospective students who live a greater distance from campus and want to get a sense of life at Fairfield from a student's perspective. "The online tour is not meant to replace the physical campus tour but rather, to encourage more students and families to take the next step and visit the campus in person," she said.

The video clips aren't sanitized versions of campus life either - there are no model dormitory rooms or airbrushed foods in sight. Instead, viewers will get a first-hand experience of what it is like for students to eat in the dining hall, attend classes, watch a sporting event, and try out for clubs and organizations.

"Live the Life" is a project that lets 18-year-olds who have just left home show their friends what college life is all about. Fairfield director of web communications Scott Barnett says people like to see themselves in situations, to see how campus life might look to them. "This first person approach offers a realistic look at our University through the eyes of students," Barnett added.

The university worked with Spitfire Interactive, an award-winning digital marketing agency from Westport, Conn. With clients such as GE and Sony, Mark Galley, founder and president, has been creating digital programs for the world's biggest brands, and says Fairfield's "Live the Life" experience is designed to break through all the clutter of other college virtual tours. In the end, utilizing the full depth of the interactive channel to create an original video/Flash experience that heightens awareness of the university, engages more prospects, and facilitates more interest and applications to the school. "Our goal here was to increase applications to the university. In order to accomplish that, we knew whatever we created had to be relevant, entertaining, educational, and completely unique," Galley said.

Fairfield's director of admissions Karen Pellegrino says that a campus visit, and the opportunity to interact with members of the university community are critical parts of a prospective student's investigation of Fairfield. "Our new virtual tour is a way for students and their parents to see the beauty of our campus, and get a glimpse of the variety of opportunities that await any student at the institution," she said.

The modular configuration of the virtual tour allows for more episodes, ranging from two to six minutes in length to be added and released incrementally throughout the 2010-11 academic year, chronicling the events of the students as they transition and progress in their lives at Fairfield. Episodes launch through the university's website at http://www.fairfield.edu/admissions.

For more information contact Scott Barnett, director of web communications at (203) 254-4000 ext. 3503 or e-mail at sbarnett@fairfield.edu

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Posted on December 9, 2010

Vol. 43, No. 141

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