- UC Berkeley students recreated their campus on “Minecraft” after COVID-19 ended their semester early.
- Events including graduations and weddings have been moved online to “Minecraft,” “Animal Crossing,” and other online games since the coronavirus spread throughout the world.
- College commencements around the country were cancelled, and students have been recreating them online.
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A typical graduation wasn’t possible this year at UC Berkeley, but students came up with a solution. They recreated their entire campus in painstaking detail, and held commencement in the virtual world, “Blockeley.”
Mid-semester, colleges across the US switched to remote learning and sent students home. Since then, other schools like the University of Pennsylvania, MIT, and Brown have also been built on “Minecraft.”
The block-building game “Minecraft,” which Microsoft bought in 2014 for $US2.5 billion, has been one of the most popular games worldwide over the last 10 years. As of September, it had a staggering 112 million active players every month, a number that has reportedly grown to 145 million.
Here’s what the “Minecraft” campus looks like.
The virtual Berkeley campus is known as Blockeley.
Students started the project on March 15, two days after in-person classes were cancelled.
By March 19, creators posted in UC Berkeley Facebook groups asking for help.
In mid-April, the project really gained traction, builders told Business Insider.
At first, there were fewer than five people building in the “Minecraft” server most of the time.
By April 16, there were between five and 20 people building at all times of the day.
In a period of five days, students built more than 30 buildings.
The Campanile clock tower was one of the most recognisable buildings.
The clock tower is visible around campus as one of the tallest buildings.
Students recreated other recognisable and important pieces of campus…
…like the East Asian Library,
And Memorial Stadium.
Memorial Stadium is where the college’s football team, the California Golden Bears, play.
It would have also been the location of commencement, as it is every year.
Builders put together the stadium in “Minecraft” in just three days.
To recognise the day, even if students couldn’t attend in person, UC Berkeley lit up blue and gold lights for students to see on social media.
On the day of commencement, they adhered closely to what a typical graduation day would look like.
Source: Berkeley News
Organisers created a Facebook event and invited classmates to the virtual graduation on May 16.
Students could make “Minecraft” accounts to attend and explore their virtual campus.
“Pomp and Circumstance” was played.
Graduates could even jump and symbolise throwing their caps.
Vice Chancellor for Administration Marc Fisher was in the game to give an address to the graduates.
Graduates received their diplomas,
The whole thing was streamed on Twitch for non “Minecraft” players to watch.
Later that day, the two-day virtual Blockeley Music Festival kicked off in the server.
More than 40 artists performed, including Lil B and DJ Soda.
All proceeds from the event went towards an economic relief fund for restaurant employees affected by COVID-19.
Exploring the virtual campus, students found that even minor details and Easter eggs were present in the game.
Beloved buildings, like iHouse, had not just accurate exteriors but also faithfully recreated interiors.
The project was the result of two months of work by more than 100 students and alumni.
Even the small Kiwibot used for deliveries on campus was included in Blockeley.
Source: Business Insider
UC Berkeley students are apparently big fans of these little robots — when one caught on fire in 2018, students held a candlelight vigil.
Source: Business Insider
Falcon chicks at the Campanile also made the cut…
…as did a llama on Memorial Glade, a nod to the therapy llamas sometimes brought in to help ease student stress.
Source: Berkeley News
100 buildings were recreated in “Minecraft” for this project.
Like on other “Minecraft” campuses, the attention to detail on certain buildings and areas show what students care about.
For example, boba shops were also recreated.
Even small details, like banners celebrating “150 years of women at Berkeley” made it to the finished product.
No detail was too inconsequential to leave out, even Berkeley’s foggy weather.
Campus buses also made appearances around the server.
After commencement, other groups organised their own gatherings in “Minecraft.”
Engineering graduates had a celebration with commentary from the dean and personal slides for each graduate.
Student-athletes had their own virtual ceremony as well.
Now, even returning to campus in the fall is in question.
University of California President Janet Napolitano said a decision hasn’t been made yet, but UCs will probably operate in a hybrid fashion in the fall.
Source: The Daily Bruin
Until then, students at least have a version of campus they can visit.
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