Western University

university canada

In a survey they ran after the event,

94%

of attendees rated it positively.

Going big with virtual events

In November 2020, the pandemic prompted Western University, Ontario, to break the mold of in-person student recruitment.

Using Unibuddy Live, they hosted their first ever Virtual Fall Preview Day. They sent nearly 20,000 invites, and were met with more than 4,000 attendees–a showing akin to one of their in-person events.

Set-up and use

The Unibuddy platform was easy for everyone to use, and made events straightforward to set up. Senior Liaison Officer of Undergraduate Recruitment Chris Smith explained: “You think it’s the tech part that’s going to be the challenge, but actually that ends up being the easy part.”

Their pro-tips are to start training your staff and volunteers early, and to stay organized if you’re running multiple events at once.

Students got the information they were looking for, found the platform intuitive and easy to use, and had very few complaints.

Results

“We get so many more questions in online spaces, so that’s another huge benefit that we see with virtual events,” Chris said.

Not only did students feel more comfortable asking questions, but more students had the chance to ask them. The event attracted a pool of attendees from a wide range of countries, as well as a higher proportion of students from beyond a two-hour driving radius.

Western University also received more applications by the start of the new year than they did the year prior with an increase in first choice selections.

When asked what the best part is, data for their CRM tops their list. By using Unibuddy, they were able to seamlessly collect contact information from every individual attendee in lieu of traditional methods of manual data collection at their in-person events.

Looking ahead

After the success of their Virtual Fall Preview Day, they were able to see the value in implementing a permanent hybrid events model.

Manager of Undergraduate Recruitment Dayana Kibilds reported that the pandemic forced them to make a quick and pivotal change: “We were all heading in this direction toward digital events, digital spaces, digital recruitment, and it happened in six months, whereas it maybe would have happened in five years. And I don’t think there’s any going back.”

“We will do digital events from this point until forever.”

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