During a time of unprecedented uncertainty, lockdowns and social distancing, events, conferences, gatherings, and celebrations have been canceled across the country. Along with a series of other on-campus events held throughout the year, Ringling College of Art and Design hosts an annual celebration in April to acknowledge, inform, and celebrate their newly-accepted students, aptly named Accepted Student Day (ASD). But how does something like this take place when the campus is closed and no one can travel?
“At Ringling College of Art and Design, we will always find a creative solution,” confirms Dr. Larry R. Thompson, president of Ringling College. “That is what we do here.”
During a traditional ASD event, accepted students come with their families and friends to get a feel for what the campus is like, tour the state-of-the-art facilities and residence halls, meet with the faculty of their major, learn about student life, and connect with their peers. Approximately 250-300 accepted students are usually hosted on the day.
This year, in light of recent events, Ringling College faculty, staff, and current students worked tirelessly over a three-week time period to bring such an event to life, creating a highly designed, online, interactive platform accessible from anywhere in the world.
“We wanted to offer a truly immersive experience for accepted students even though they couldn’t come visit us in Sarasota,” said Lisa Moody, Interim Director of Marketing and Digital Strategies for the College. “It was challenging because the world kept changing so fast. We went from planning multi-camera livestreaming in real time to deciding to pre-record all of the department heads, but before we could get them filmed, Florida got the stay-at-home order. We had to get innovative on how we could produce a ton of original content from home in three weeks. Our digital team worked remotely with all of the majors and several other departments on campus and produced a fun and successful day–exactly what you’d expect from an art and design college like Ringling.”
The event kicked off sharply at noon ET on Sunday, April 19th. Each major had a custom-designed webpage where students watched a personal video message from their department head. From there, accepted students could spend five or six hours on their page exploring various content created just for them, just for that day, including videos, interactive Q&A’s, a virtual campus tour, and more.
In addition, more than thirty live Q&A Sessions were held throughout the day, ending with students having the opportunity to ask questions directly to President Thompson. All majors, Student Life and Support Services, the Office of Admissions, and On-campus Involvement had live Q&A’s as well.
During a time of such limited human interaction, Ringling College’s faculty and staff were able to connect directly with students and their families on a global scale, participating countries including Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Panama, Puerto Rico, India, the United Kingdom, and all over the U.S. despite time differences. In total, more than 1,000 students from over 30 countries participated in Ringling College’s Accepted Student Day!
Messages of thanks poured in following Sunday’s online Accepted Student Day event, thanking the College’s faculty and staff for their hard work and dedication. Human connection formed through creativity and technology — a Ringling College creative solution at its finest.
You can still view the ASD pages, videos, and additional content via the majors’ pages, or click the links below. Computer Animation and Film pages were featured only for 24 hours.