Online Classes? How About Online Campus?
On a Tuesday during the UW-Madison Spring Break week (March 17, 2020), Chancellor Blank announced to the students, faculty, and staff that the university would shift to virtual classes for the rest of the Spring semester due to the unprecedented challenge that COVID-19 pandemic presented.
Shortly after campus closing, many students shared on social media platforms about missing the beautiful physical UW-Madison campus. Students from universities across the United States, from Stanford to MIT, began announcing Minecraft building projects to recreate campuses in Minecraft. Many students have grown up playing this iconic digital sandbox game, and the versatility of its multiplayer server ability made the game an excellent choice for being the platform to create places that we could no longer visit in person.
The VirtualUW Project was launched on March 28th when Ryan Wenzel, a Junior UW-Madison student, created a Minecraft server and invited students on the UW-Madison page of Reddit to join and help build the campus. Since then, the project has grown to include over 30 remote student volunteers who are contributing their time and artistic talents to build up our UW campus, one block at a time. We have completed numerous facilities so far, but there is still a lot of building to do! All project updates will be shared via our website and social media, so be sure to like and follow our Facebook and Instagram pages! We were also featured in a recent Wisconsin State Journal story, which you can read here.
We have the ultimate goal of building and publishing a 1:1 scale Minecraft server of the entire UW-Madison campus. We want to create a place where anyone can connect and experience our university community virtually! We hope to release the server to the public for all to enjoy as soon as most of the main campus has been completed. Eventually, we hope to create the surrounding campus areas and iconic city of Madison locations, such as the State St. neighborhood.
Do you have Minecraft experience (Java Edition) and would like to get involved? We are currently recruiting passionate players for our builder team, as well as developers for our leadership team. There are no time requirements, dues, or other member obligations and you are free to build on your own schedule. Please fill out the Google Form here and we will contact you! Also, be sure to follow us here on Facebook and Instagram to stay up to date on the project.