Saturday, March 03, 2007

Virtual Fraternities - An Idea for Tomorrow

A Second Life Online
Jason Pearce
from Lambda Chi Alpha Voices

This weekend, I spent a few hours immersing myself in the video game Second Life. While I do enjoy playing video games, I traditionally stick to the Xbox and Xbox 360 gaming consoles. This was my first time trying out Second Life, which is played on a PC.

What drew me to Second Life was an article about how universities are beginning to use the game’s virtual world as a method of distance learning. Instead of meeting in a traditional classroom, more than 70 universities have built island campuses in Second Life; enabling students to meet online to conduct class.

Curious, I wanted to see if this could also be an opportunity to establish virtual fraternities. As you can see from these screen shots, I found one (two to be exact).
One or more members of Phi Beta Sigma have created a virtual fraternity house complete with a museum, living room, bar, pool table, and dance floor. After letting myself in, I introduced myself to about six “people” who were hanging out in their living room, chatting.
They were all pleasantly friendly, had pride in their virtual chapter house, and welcomed me to stop by anytime.

So, is there a future for virtual Lambda Chi Alpha chapter’s? Perhaps. One of the biggest problems would be authentication, for anyone can create a virtual character and claim to be a member of Lambda Chi Alpha. At this time I don’t see it likely that the Grand High Zeta would charter a virtual chapter or permit online initiation ceremonies, although this could be done within the Second Life construct.

As for a creating an online presence for Lambda Chi Alpha members and friends to visit, I don’t think it will take long for a Lambda Chi to one day build us a chapter house. Who knows, maybe Second Life will even have its own Greek row.