UC Berkeley students recreated more than 100 buildings on their 'Minecraft' campus 'Blockeley' — take a tour of the virtual university

Gretchen KnellUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.
  • 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.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

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.

Gretchen KnellUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Students started the project on March 15, two days after in-person classes were cancelled.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

By March 19, creators posted in UC Berkeley Facebook groups asking for help.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

In mid-April, the project really gained traction, builders told Business Insider.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

At first, there were fewer than five people building in the “Minecraft” server most of the time.

Gretchen KnellUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

By April 16, there were between five and 20 people building at all times of the day.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

In a period of five days, students built more than 30 buildings.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

The Campanile clock tower was one of the most recognisable buildings.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

The clock tower is visible around campus as one of the tallest buildings.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Students recreated other recognisable and important pieces of campus…

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

…like the East Asian Library,

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

And Memorial Stadium.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Memorial Stadium is where the college’s football team, the California Golden Bears, play.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

It would have also been the location of commencement, as it is every year.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Builders put together the stadium in “Minecraft” in just three days.

Gretchen KnellUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

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.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

On the day of commencement, they adhered closely to what a typical graduation day would look like.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Source: Berkeley News


Organisers created a Facebook event and invited classmates to the virtual graduation on May 16.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Students could make “Minecraft” accounts to attend and explore their virtual campus.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

“Pomp and Circumstance” was played.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Graduates could even jump and symbolise throwing their caps.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Vice Chancellor for Administration Marc Fisher was in the game to give an address to the graduates.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Graduates received their diplomas,

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

The whole thing was streamed on Twitch for non “Minecraft” players to watch.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Later that day, the two-day virtual Blockeley Music Festival kicked off in the server.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

More than 40 artists performed, including Lil B and DJ Soda.

Gretchen KnellUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

All proceeds from the event went towards an economic relief fund for restaurant employees affected by COVID-19.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Exploring the virtual campus, students found that even minor details and Easter eggs were present in the game.

Gretchen KnellUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Beloved buildings, like iHouse, had not just accurate exteriors but also faithfully recreated interiors.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

The project was the result of two months of work by more than 100 students and alumni.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Even the small Kiwibot used for deliveries on campus was included in Blockeley.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

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.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Source: Business Insider


Falcon chicks at the Campanile also made the cut…

Gretchen KnellUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

…as did a llama on Memorial Glade, a nod to the therapy llamas sometimes brought in to help ease student stress.

Gretchen KnellUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Source: Berkeley News


100 buildings were recreated in “Minecraft” for this project.

Gretchen KnellUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Like on other “Minecraft” campuses, the attention to detail on certain buildings and areas show what students care about.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

For example, boba shops were also recreated.

Gretchen KnellUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Even small details, like banners celebrating “150 years of women at Berkeley” made it to the finished product.

Gretchen KnellUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

No detail was too inconsequential to leave out, even Berkeley’s foggy weather.

Gretchen KnellUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Campus buses also made appearances around the server.

Gretchen KnellUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

After commencement, other groups organised their own gatherings in “Minecraft.”

Gretchen KnellUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Engineering graduates had a celebration with commentary from the dean and personal slides for each graduate.

BlockeleyUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Student-athletes had their own virtual ceremony as well.

Gretchen KnellUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Now, even returning to campus in the fall is in question.

Gretchen KnellUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

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.

Gretchen KnellUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

Source: The Daily Bruin


Until then, students at least have a version of campus they can visit.

Gretchen KnellUC Berkeley Blockeley campus.

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