Free virtual reality space open for campus community

contact: Deanne Puca
| WMU News
Photo of two people wearing virtual reality goggles and holding controllers standing by a computer screen on a table.

New virtual reality room is open on the lower level of Waldo Library.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University has opened a free virtual reality space for students, faculty and staff members on the lower level of Waldo Library in Room 0135.

The University community can take a look at the new lab during a grand opening event from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, with brief remarks made after 5 p.m.

A collaboration between the University Libraries and Office of Information Technology, the new lab includes six workstations with high-end PCs, Oculus Rift headsets and Oculus Touch hand controllers. More than 20 titles are supported.

WMU students can use the lab to experience both the entertainment and educational side of VR content. Additionally, the lab will help faculty members learn about the technology and how to integrate VR content into classes and research.

The VR lab is available on a first-come, first-served basis during open hours. Other times may be reserved by contacting Kevin Abbott, Office of Information Technology, at kevin.abbott@wmich.edu.

"In three short years, virtual reality has grown into a billion-dollar industry that has significantly disrupted the gaming and entertainment industries while opening up new educational opportunities in fields such as military, space, flight, archeology, medical, engineering, architecture and the fine arts," says Tom Wolf, chief Information officer for the Office of Information Technology.

Dean of Libraries Julie Garrison adds, "We are excited to be working with OIT to host the VR lab in the libraries and bring greater exposure and understanding to how virtual reality can impact teaching and learning. We invite all students, faculty, and staff from across the university to take advantage of this excellent new resource and come to play, experiment and learn about virtual reality's potential."

Two people wearing virtual reality goggles standing in front of computer screens.

Experience WMU's new virtual reality lab during an open house Thursday, Feb. 15.

Hours of operation

The VR lab is open the following hours each week during the spring 2018 semester.

  • Sundays through Thursdays, 9 p.m. to midnight
  • Mondays, 10 a.m. to noon
  • Wednesdays, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.
  • Thursdays, 4 to 6 p.m.
  • Fridays, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more information, visit wmich.edu/library/services/vr.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.