From Rock to block: Esports Club creates virtual community

Esports club uses Minecraft to harbor creativity and community among students and alumni.

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Due to the pandemic and the restrictions placed upon distancing, many students at SRU were unable to see much of their campus this past fall.

To remedy this, Adam Schultz, the president of the SRU Esports club, along with some other members of the Esports club, decided to create a way to allow students to not only view the campus, but to explore the area as well.

Their solution was simple: recreate Slippery Rock University in Minecraft.

Minecraft is a video game about building and exploring a virtual 3D world, which is made entirely out of cubic blocks. For the Esports club to recreate the SRU campus, thousands of blocks had to be specifically placed.

This was no small feat, even with multiple people working on the project. To accurately construct the campus on the popular video game, the Esports club had to plan each block very carefully to make the world appear built to scale.

The project started back in October, when planning first took place.

According to Schultz, this project was created as a medium to allow students to visit and explore the campus. “We wanted to bring the campus to the students” said Schultz.

Many students can feel detached from the campus due to the pandemic, but the club’s creation allows students to regain the involvement to the college and to feel a part of the community once again.

Furthermore, the project was created to help students feel closer to campus, even if they live hours away. For many students, visiting campus is difficult due to the distance that campus is from their homes. This creation brings the campus to them and allows them to explore as they please.

Additionally, creating a virtual Slippery Rock campus on Minecraft paves the way for a virtual community to blossom and flourish. The possibilities are often endless when it comes to Minecraft. For example, students could log on to the Minecraft world and meet up with their friends in the virtual quad, or even visit Boozel together.

The Esports club is even contemplating the idea of hosting a virtual commencement in Minecraft for those who are graduating or have graduated during the pandemic. Another idea is to host tours around the virtual campus for students.

The idea for a college campus Minecraft world stems from other colleges that have undertaken similar projects to bring the campuses online as well. The Slippery Rock Minecraft world is unique in the fact that it has been entirely student and alumni created, with attention to detail at every block.

The world started gaining popularity as the Esports club posted progress reports online every few days as different structures were completed. From these posts, the club received lots of positive feedback and people volunteering to help create different buildings on the Minecraft world. Recently, the Minecraft world has gained popularity and attention from the community, which was not anticipated by the Esports club. According to Schultz, current students and alumni have praised the club for their creation.

“Reaching people from the past is an achievement,” said Schultz.

The Minecraft world also shines a spotlight on the SRU Esports club as well. This project served as an outreach to those interested in Esports, as well as those who are not familiar with it. Outside of Minecraft, the Esports club hosts different video game sessions and even organizes teams to compete with other colleges.

What started as a niche project for those interested in video games has grown to appeal to anyone related to Slippery Rock University. Even though the entire campus has not been created yet, Esports members and volunteers plan to further their hard work.

For more information and updates about the SRU Minecraft World, you can find the Esports club on Twitter @SlipRockEsports.

Brandon is a sophomore digital media production major. This is his first year writing for The Rocket as a campus life contributor. Before he joined The Rocket, Brandon was the Editor for his high school newspaper. In addition to writing for The Rocket, Brandon is the Public Relations Chair of Musical Theatre Society. In his free time, Brandon enjoys watching movies and hiking.

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