Catch a virtual glimpse of the future at Rutgers Day

Thursday, 22 April 2010 14:17

rutour042210_optPublic welcome to view a three-dimensional rendering of the Livingston Campus redevelopment

With the opening of the Livingston Student Center this year and the recent approval of the new business school, the redevelopment of the Livingston Campus is well on its way.

At Rutgers Day, everyone will have the opportunity to see the projected outcome of the total project. A three-dimensional rendering of the vision for the Livingston Campus will be accessible through Second Life, an online virtual world where anyone can interact with others.

When presented on Rutgers Day, everyone will be able to view the anticipated dining hall, dorms and business school, as well as the other facilities that are expected to remain, such as the Janice H. Levin Building, Beck Hall and the Kilmer Library. Currently, the virtual exteriors are fully functional; the next phase is to include the interiors.

The goal is to use Second Life as a social networking tool that will help members of the Rutgers community visualize the university's plan for the Livingston Campus. Building the campus in an alternate reality makes it possible for students, faculty, alumni and anyone who is interested to experience the campus and provide feedback before real world resources are used.

"For a fraction of the cost it would take to build in the physical world, we can construct the exteriors and interiors in Second Life to allow people to experience the campus before physical construction begins," said Richard Anderson, project manager and technical consultant for Continuing Studies' information projects. "For example, we can update the textures and materials and change the number of levels a building may have. These features can be approximated easily, and readjusted as necessary."

Rutgers Day visitors can create an avatar, a three-dimensional model that represents the user, and view the Livingston Campus in a special display found at the Collaborative Learning Center of the new student center.

Faculty members are presently using Second Life for language learning, studying architecture, and proposing sustainable downtowns. The Department of Art History is developing a virtual exhibition for the class, "The Rise of Christianity." Also, Rutgers alumni are keeping connected to the university by playing in a virtual stadium.

"Rutgers University has one of the most extensive builds of any university in Second Life, we have 128 acres, and by Rutgers Day 27 buildings," Anderson said.

In addition to viewing the Livingston Campus, visitors will get to experience the virtual Old Queens Campus where there are versions of the Old Queens building and Van Nest, Geology and Winants Halls as well as the Schanck Observatory. Staying true to reality, Second Life residents will see the historic iron gates that enclose the campus, canon and the Old Queens bell. Also, the interior of Kirkpatrick Chapel is authentically replicated, making it possible for anyone to tour the space without setting foot in the real building.

Other Rutgers property in Second Life includes the Rutgers Student Center and a virtual visitor center. Also, Second Life residents can socialize at the popular "grease trucks."

For more information on Rutgers Day programming visit HERE