Recognizing the disappointment of her fellow graduates who wouldn’t get to experience commencement exercises this year prompted electrical engineering masters student Brianne Tengan to do something. She built a virtual composite of the UH campus in Minecraft — a game where the player has the ability to create, modify, or destroy their environment — and planned to have a commencement ceremony there, streamed live to the world.
That was two months ago. Since then, interest in the project has swelled. It was featured on the local news (HNN and KITV) and she even managed to nab a few congratulatory messages for the ceremony from a dozen local celebrities along the way, including actress Kelly Hu and Senator Brian Schatz. Some were so taken with her idea that they volunteered to help her build the campus. “I didn’t think it would gain as much traction as it did, but I’m glad the student body and overall community are embracing it,” she says.
As for how many people will be participating, it’s hard to tell. She says, “We think the majority of people will be watching the livestream, since you need a Minecraft license to participate in the Minecraft side.”