Students at the Rochester Institute of Technology started a project to keep people engaged after classes moved online, utilizing what some would consider an unconventional tool to do so.

What You Need To Know

  • COVID-19 canceled commencement ceremonies, so students got creative. 
  • Ceremonies were held on the game Minecraft.
  • Students hope the game could provide virtual tours of campus in the future.

The Electronic Gaming Society at RIT started the project using the world-building and construction game Minecraft, and says it’s a great way to keep people connected, socialize, collaborate, and express their creativity.

“We noticed just a lot of different communities engaging over the video game Minecraft, which is a game that a lot of our members play, so we eventually decided to start a project within the club to rebuild campus on Minecraft,” said Lauren Suter, former Electronic Gaming Society vice president.

The organization says over 400 students, faculty, staff, alumni, and family members chipped in to build the virtual campus.

As a tribute to seniors graduating this semester, the Electronic Gaming Society held a virtual graduation Friday night, just a few days after the university's official virtual commencement.

Suter said students can login into the game and walk across a virtual state to receive their virtual diploma.

One student who took part in the virtual commencement says it added a personal touch to the graduation experience because he was able to do something special with his friends.

“This also just fills the niche of that and just to happen to work out with everything, like we’re building the whole campus and that project just kind of blowup and allows these great events to happen,” said Evan Misiorski, a 2020 RIT graduate and former president of the Electronic Gaming Society.

Students and alumni involved in creating the virtual campus say the project will continue throughout the summer.

The hope is that this virtual campus can be used for virtual tours for incoming freshmen, or other events for campus.