By: Marcus Whitman, Staff Writer
Screenshot by Sophie Bates/ The Towerlight
Since all in-person gatherings for the spring semester were cancelled due to COVID-19, the TU4U welcome event for potential students has become a virtual experience webpage.
The webpage, which launched March 30, offered Zoom sessions with associate deans between April 13 and 17 as well as different events on multiple days. Students can view TU4U information and videos online.
According to Director of University Admissions David Fedorchak, one of the biggest challenges in creating and coordinating this new virtual environment was the short time frame to make it live while involving numerous departments and people.
“TU4U is by far the most complex admissions event that we coordinate each year,” Fedorchak said. “There was tremendous collaboration between University Admissions, Marketing & Communications, Creative Services video team, provost, deans, associate deans, faculty and staff. It was a true team effort. Many people had to learn new software or programs quickly. I am proud of what this teamwork produced for the virtual TU4U page.”
According to Assistant Dean for the College of Education Gilda Martinez-Alba, the biggest challenge was the concern of whether the University would be able to reach as many students as the typical face-to-face, fair-like TU4U event.
“We were worried about that, [but] we had a good turn out in the virtual presentation,” she said. “And then we were able to follow up with everybody that had signed up. And hopefully the enrollment will remain about the same as it would have been if it was face-to-face. But, that’s really the biggest challenge, hoping that the enrollment stays or improves of course.”
According to Senior Edmund Savage, a Student Ambassador that assists the admission staff, the TU4U event provides an important experience for the incoming students.
“TU4U is one of the most important times during the school year because it allows
for everyone apart of our community to share their experience with a future group
of students,” Savage said. “Some students have already enrolled, and others are still on the fence
about college. All future students need to be informed how TU supports students
especially during these challenging times.”
Martinez-Alba also explained that current students and student groups were no longer included in the new virtual TU4U environment.
Normally, student groups would be available to answer potential questions or be part of a panel answering questions at TU4U.
“This time around, since everything had just transitioned to virtual, we didn’t have students participate,” Martinez-Alba said. “We had people from each department, faculty from each department, but we didn’t have students.”
Evangelia Sarapi, president of the College Democrats of Towson University club, initially had her group signed up for the event before it became a virtual site.
“Our organization signed up for the TU4U event because we wanted to make sure the incoming students were aware of our club and what we do,” Sharapi said.
According to Martinez-Alba, the transition to an online TU4U was made easier by the help from University Marketing. The department assisted with practicing online zoom calls, she said.
“ I thought considering it was a huge transition that they did a really good job. And their page that they had put together was also a very clear format,” Martinez-Alba said.