Arizona State University partnered with Los Angeles-based creative agency PXL to develop a virtual ASU campus to engage with students, families and alumni. The interactive platform allows for personalization of avatars so guests can socialize with other event attendees using proximity audio, video calls and custom ASU emojis.
The campus was built on PXL's state-of-the-art VX Platform, a proprietary web-based 3D event platform, and piloted with the Office of University Ceremonies for the Veterans Honor Stole Ceremony event and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering convocation in the spring.
The Veterans Honor Stole Ceremony on May 1, presented by the Pat Tillman Veterans Center and ASU Alumni Association, recognized over 100 graduating student veterans representing the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard for their military service and academic accomplishments. The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering convocation on May 3 was attended by several thousand graduates and guests and included many of the school's graduation traditions.
At both events, attendees networked at a pre-ceremony reception on the virtual Old Main lawn, and then a few minutes before the ceremony was set to begin they were automatically transported to a virtual re-creation of Sun Devil Stadium. In the stadium, they watched a livestreamed video of speeches from President Michael Crow and other distinguished guests. When it came time for the graduates’ names to be read, each graduate and their guests saw a personalized video featuring the graduate's name, photo and message. At the conclusion of the event, attendees were able to take a photo in front of a backdrop of the campus as a personal digital takeaway.
“In a continuing effort to innovate the ways in which we celebrate graduates, we chose to work with PXL to provide a virtual platform that allowed graduates and guests to interact in real time,” said Christine Wilkinson, president and CEO of the ASU Alumni Association and secretary of the university. “We look forward to utilizing this platform to expand the options available for graduation ceremonies in December and for Alumni Association and university events.”
On June 17, the ASU Alumni Association invited the Sun Devil 100 Class of 2021 to the virtual campus for its annual award ceremony. This class represents 100 diverse organizations owned and led by ASU alumni, a record-breaking 132 Sun Devil inductees who have degrees from 16 schools and colleges within ASU. Matt Michalowski, president and founder of PXL, has been a Sun Devil 100 honoree for the past six years. The Alumni Association was able to showcase his work during this year’s annual celebration with his fellow honorees.
In July, the ASU Alumni Association in partnership with Admissions, ASU Family and Sun Devil Athletics will welcome incoming Sun Devil students and their families to “Spark a Connection” with alumni and university staff in the virtual campus prior to starting the fall semester. Alumni will welcome the Class of 2025 and answer any questions about starting school during four networking events with students from all over the world.
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