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#TBT: THON Fundraisers In Second Life

The early days of the internet were full of weird and crazy things. In the mid-aughts, massively multiplayer games online roleplaying games like World of Warcraft were all the rage. Then came the development of Second Life in 2003, an ambitious project that wasn’t so much a game, but a whole virtual world users could experience. People could buy houses (paid for with real life money), get married, and make friends, all while walking around with personal user-created avatars.

Things started to heat up in 2005 when Second Life garnered some media attention and its userbase began to increase. Companies started buying land to advertise their products, religious organizations held virtual masses (Muslim users can even take a virtual Hajj to prepare for the real thing), and countries like Estonia, Sweden, and Columbia even began opening virtual embassies. Former Virginia Governor Mark Warner even gave a speech in Second Life in 2006.

So naturally, Penn State decided to open up a virtual World Campus in Second Life, complete with replicas of the Creamery and the Diner. We went on a tour of the Campus in 2009, but that wasn’t the first time Penn State got involved with Second Life. A THON fundraiser was held also in Second Life in 2009, when a guitarist by the name of Rich Desoto put on what may very well be the only virtual THON fundraiser ever done (unless you count DonorDrive, I guess).

While it seems like Penn State has abandoned its Second Life dreams, plenty of other schools have kept on chugging along with it. Maybe in time THON could even make a return to the platform without the virtual campus!

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About the Author

Matt Paolizzi

Matt is a sophomore majoring in Secondary Education, minoring in philosophy, and is from the fabled land of "just outside Philly." He'll gladly talk your ear off about anything from Picasso to Wu-Tang Clan and lives and dies by Philly sports. Send him seething rants and death threats at [email protected]

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