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Online tour highlights students, buildings and life on campus


The Valley Business and Technology Center is one of the new stops on the virtual tour.

  • March 19, 2009

A new virtual tour is live on the California State University, East Bay Web site, giving prospective students and other online viewers more than pictures of buildings and the scenic view. The tour features Cal State East Bay students who talk about the university and what it's like to attend, each from their own perspective. An interactive map also allows visitors to explore campus facilities while learning about academics, classes, student life and services.

Featured on the new CSUEB home page, the tour is also an important element on the university’s prospective students and About Cal State East Bay pages. It can be accessed directly at

Jay Colombatto, associate vice president of University Communications, said "It brings the Cal State East Bay brand and experience to life in a very authentic way, because our story is told through the eyes of actual students, using their own words. Much of the video was taken by students, as well, and it's entirely unscripted."

He added that it also is an important recruitment tool, giving prospective students — especially those from out of the area, who are one of the university's priority enrollment targets— a convenient and cost-free way to make their first visit to Cal State East Bay.

The previous online tour was produced five years ago. Because the majority of the former student guides had graduated and left campus, the Office of University Communications recruited several new students to share a slice of their lives on campus with Web visitors.

"A lot has changed since the last tour, including the name of the university," said Dan Bellone, who coordinated the project with University Communications. In addition to the official switch to California State University, East Bay, the new University Union, the Valley Business and Technology Center and the latest additions to Pioneer Heights student housing opened and needed to be added to the tour map.

To create the videos that introduce the students and the locations on campus, the cameras followed the student tour guides to class and extracurricular activities. Sophomore John Volk, a pitcher for the Pioneer baseball team, said it took a little while to get used to.

"We filmed one of the interviews on the field right before practice," he said. "Then the whole team was walking by, trying to make me laugh, but I kept it together, stayed professional."

As a business administration major hoping to work one day in marketing and advertising, Volk also considered the video project a professional learning experience. "To be involved in something I might do as a career, I felt I was pretty lucky," he said.

Bellone said the online tour would likely be refreshed every four to five years, as students graduate and new facilities are completed.

Additional footage of the student guides was used to produce a longer movie for the Video Viewbook DVD, a digital companion to the printed marketing materials used for student recruitment.

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