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Phoenix Forward magazine

Campus tours showcase John Sperling Center


How do you draw blood from a manikin? What percentage of recycled materials were used to build the University of Phoenix® Main Campus?

You can get the answers to these questions and more during a complimentary guided tour of the campus, also known as the John Sperling Center for Educational Innovation.

The hour-long tour, formerly reserved primarily for staff and government officials, now is open to current and prospective students, as well as the general public, according to Sabrina Hiltunen, MBA, manager of the University Experience Center.

“Our goal is to build interest in the campus and invite the community here,” Hiltunen says.

A highlight of the Sperling Center, she notes, is the Nursing Simulation Lab, which features manikins that can “cry,” “bleed” and even simulate giving birth. The idea is to mimic the environment of a hospital so nursing students can learn in situations as real as possible.

Visitors also can check out the Student Resource Center, which offers everything from resumé assistance and career counseling to printing and computer access. And the User Experience Center is where new technology is tested to ensure that it’s ready for students to use.

The campus, which received a gold certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), has a lake designed to catch runoff water from surrounding lawns and landscapes, and a six-story parking structure that includes outlets for electric cars on the first floor.

Some of  the videos shown on the tour are energy-efficient, too. “It takes less energy to display this than it does to blow-dry your hair,” Hiltunen says, pointing to a movie that features four alumni discussing how earning a University degree has affected their careers.

Images of the first graduation and relics of the University’s online program from 1989 — software on floppy disks — adorn walls of the center’s main hallway.

“When current students visit the center, it’s always exciting to see them light up,” Hiltunen says, noting that many of the online students who take the tour leave knowing more about the “depth of services” they can use while working toward their degrees.

“For prospective students,” she adds, “it allows them to understand who we are, what we do and who we serve.”

If you’d like to book a guided tour, send an email to campustours@phoenix.edu.