Aerial photo of the UW–Madison campus


If you want to experience the beauty and vibrancy of the UW–Madison campus, you can now do so anywhere there’s an internet connection. Campus tours have gone virtual.

The tours launched in March, after the COVID-19 pandemic arrived in Wisconsin, though the desire for virtual tours existed long before.

“I began thinking about this two and a half or three years ago,” says Greer Davis, the associate director of undergraduate communications and marketing in the UW’s Office of Admissions and Recruitment. “We realized that a lot of people wanted to come to the university but never visited here.” These audiences include international students, those with disabilities, and those without the means to travel to Madison. “We wanted to showcase campus for them,” Davis says.

The arrival of coronavirus accelerated the effort. Beginning March 11 — two days before campus closed for spring break, and as it turned out, the rest of spring semester and summer term — the admissions office teamed with the Office of Campus and Visitor Relations to put together a series of video tours, shooting 20 in just a few days. Potential students can now see much of the campus area, from State Street in the east to the medical campus in the west, and from the ancient Red Gym to the still-under-construction Chemistry Building. All the tours are available on the admissions website.

Although the fall application cycle had closed by the time the pandemic arrived, Davis and her colleagues wanted the tours to be ready, as prospective students tour campus year-round.

“We didn’t plan to do this because of COVID,” says Davis. “But it certainly became a huge priority, knowing how much of an impact campus tours make.”

Published in the Fall 2020 issue


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