University Takes Students on Live Virtual Tour of Campus

The Office of Admissions hosted the Facebook Live event and Q&A session for students who can’t make it to campus.

gw tour guide
Hannah Friedman helps lead a Facebook Live campus tour of the Foggy Bottom Campus on Dec. 3. By Monday, the tour had more than 27,000 views.
December 05, 2016

A team of George Washington University tour guides took prospective students on a live, virtual tour around the Foggy Bottom Campus Dec. 3, using Facebook Live to take questions in real time and offering a personal touch for students as far away as South Korea to come as close as possible to experiencing GW.

While GW has since 2014 offered a Virtual Tour with photos and information on interactive maps of GW’s three campuses, the Facebook Live tour may be the first live, in-person campus tour on that platform for any U.S. college or university.

“We realize that students are really busy these days, so breaking away during the school week to visit GW is not always possible,” said Costas Solomou, dean of undergraduate admissions. “We wanted to give prospective students and their families other options to see campus up close and personal. Social media is a great way for us to showcase our beautiful campus in a way that is both interactive and real. It's raw footage of campus in real time that is authentic.”

Prospective students and their families who tuned in for the hourlong event experienced a traditional campus tour—stopping by the Marvin Center, District House, Gelman Library, Science and Engineering Hall, Duquès Hall, Lisner Auditorium and the Smith Center—and most importantly heard firsthand from students about their experiences at GW. George the mascot, Colonial Brass, GW Pitches and Dean of Students Peter Konwerski also made surprise appearances. Viewers also asked questions, which a GW team monitored and posed to tour guides, who answered in real time.

Nikita Shah, with George the mascot, explains the GW hippo to Facebook Live viewers.


The reception has been positive. At its peak, more than 390 viewers watched the live-stream. Tour guides received more than 100 questions and as of Monday morning the video has more than 27,000 views and has reached more than 650,000 people. A recording of the event can be viewed anytime on the university’s Facebook page.

Dr. Solomou said the Office of Admissions would review the results of the live event to decide whether it should become part of the office’s regular outreach to prospective students.

For this event, the office targeted students who have expressed an interest in GW, such as high school sophomores and juniors or transfer students; students who have applied to GW; students who have started an application but not finished; and students who live farther away from the District, both in the United States and abroad.

The Office of Admissions collaborated with GW’s marketing and creative services team to produce the tour.

“We have been using Facebook Live a lot over the last six months to reach students, alumni and media with expert commentary and amazing #OnlyatGW events,” said Jon Hussey, managing director of digital marketing strategy. “But we wanted to try something new to bring the experience of GW to prospective students who haven’t seen the campus or have questions about life at GW.”

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