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Jayhawk Welcome Center

Welcome Centers: An Emerging Trend in Higher Education

Institutions are under pressure to rethink student recruitment, fundraising and alumni engagement strategies. How do you establish a competitive advantage amidst the challenges in higher education today? It starts with elevating the campus experience.

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The current landscape in higher education has never been more complex or competitive. Declining enrollment, fundraising challenges, increased emphasis on virtual learning and growing interest in trade school options have left institutions in unfamiliar territory, prompting them to question what will make the most impact for current (and future) strategic planning initiatives. With more adversities than ever before, how do university leaders establish a competitive edge?

While there’s no quick fix to address and solve these challenges, creating memorable and innovative on-campus experiences such is a proven place to start. At Dimensional Innovations, we live and breathe those experiences – helping institutions nationwide establish a strategic master planning advantage that supports student recruitment, alumni engagement, fundraising efforts, community involvement and so much more. 

From established welcome centers and alumni headquarters to recruitment hubs and game-day destinations, we design and build a variety of purpose-driven experiences that serve as a living, breathing ecosystem for your institution. Effectively creating these on-campus spaces requires a partner who understands your history, vision and values and knows how to transform those messages into unforgettable, evergreen experiences.


A meaningful campus visit is driven by “fit and feel.” It’s about igniting a memorable sense of community and personal belonging in connection to your university (and its story). More traditional design approaches often don’t carry the personalized ‘wow’ factor needed to create that kind of connection. But tech-driven approaches and strategic moments of engagement do.

Integrating technology into your welcome center or campus footprint helps tell your story in a way that engages visitors and sets your institution apart from the competition. Tech integration also keeps these places and spaces relevant over time, as content can easily be adjusted as your narrative and audience evolve. 

The Terwilliger Center for Student-Athletes at the United States Naval Academy is a tech-driven, branded campus space designed to connect with all visitors – particularly naval recruits. The Naval Academy Athletic Association and influential donors identified an opportunity to personify what it means to be a Midshipman. Our team developed a never-been-done-before approach that speaks directly to recruits, ultimately creating a tech-forward experience to showcase how recruits can be a part of a historic legacy of service and commitment.


From the fully immersive 180° theater and over 25 digital touchscreens to a mock F/A-18E Super Hornet and the “Who Will You Become?” augmented reality (AR) interactive, the Terwilliger Center for Student-Athletes sets a distinguished standard for student and student-athlete recruitment at one of the more prestigious service academies and universities in the country. 


Every university has a compelling story to tell. How you tell yours makes all the difference in winning the campus visit. Storytelling through static timeline walls and lengthy copy narratives won’t engage visitors like they used to. Effectively illustrating your brand narrative, history and key differentiators warrants more creative and forward-thinking methods. 

Take the Jayhawk Welcome Center, for example. Looking to create a hub for campus visits in a way that had never been done before, University of Kansas leaders teamed up with DI and partners to develop a strategic plan initiative designed to meaningfully and uniquely engage alumni and students.

“We know statistically the campus visit is the most important element of [the students’] decision on where they go to school,” Doug Girod, University of Kansas Chancellor, said. “The campus visit becomes the culmination of all of our work for recruitment. It’s kind of the key point of whether we’re going to seal the deal.”

Jayhawk Welcome Center
Jayhawk Welcome Center Jayhawk Welcome Center

The tech-forward, “smart” welcome center is an unforgettable front door to the university that creates a personalized experience putting each visitor at the center of their story. The space includes five branded experiences equipped with touchscreens and digital interactives that illustrate what it means to be a Kansas Jayhawk. Prospective students receive a QR code before their visit, which invites them to share details regarding their field of study and any other relevant interests. KU staff can then cultivate a personalized journey for each visitor before stepping foot on campus. 

Jayhawk Welcome Center

We also leveraged this digital storytelling strategy when partnering with a variety of corporate partners. While the corporate landscape may seem worlds away from higher education, effective experience design and innovative storytelling methods within them are more similar than one may think.

In an effort to elevate their global headquarters, we teamed up with American Century Investments to explore a nuanced approach to tell their story. Through augmented reality (AR) technology seamlessly integrated through mobile QR codes, sculptural elements, generative art displays and more, the American Century space creates a captivating experience that tells its historic brand narrative and engages visitors beyond traditional means. The space is highly interactive and serves as a forward-thinking recruitment tool for a growing Gen Z audience.

American Century Investments
American Century Investments American Century Investments

Other corporate spaces we’ve partnered with – like this Fortune 50 Healthcare Company and Fortune 100 Tech Corporation – demonstrate the power and value of innovative brand storytelling through technology integration, designated points of engagement and human-centered content. In fact, 74% of visitors viewed the Fortune 50 Healthcare Company’s brand more favorably after exploring the briefing center. 

Fortune 50 Healthcare Fortune 100

Just as corporations strive to solve sales and brand awareness challenges, so do higher education institutions. Creating an experience that captivates your target audience and highlights what makes your brand a cut above is proven to help drive measurable outcomes.


Effectively and consistently engaging prospective and current students along with university alumni starts with a vision that creates a strong and storied point of connection. Investing in an on-campus experience unique to your institution aims to elevate the recruitment path, strengthen alumni networks and establish a competitive edge in today’s higher education climate. 

We specialize in creating those spaces and places designed to elevate the campus experience through strategic design, storytelling and interactive technology. From conceptualization to completion, our interdisciplinary team takes a comprehensive approach to ideate, design and create campus spaces that spark an emotional connection and drive results.

Eric Buckels

Eric Buckels linkedin

Associate Account Director

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Every big opportunity starts with a small step forward. We're here to help you! Let’s jump on the phone, say hello, and discuss your virtual meeting or experience need, in a quick 15-minute FIT call. Prefer email? That's cool, too! Drop us a line - we're always happy to connect.

Get In Touch With Our Experts

Every big opportunity starts with a small step forward. We're here to help you! Let’s jump on the phone, say hello and discuss your need, idea or project in a quick 15-minute FIT call. Prefer email? That's cool, too! Drop us a line - we're always happy to connect.



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