Cal students create a virtual UC Berkeley campus for online graduation

BERKELEY, Calif. -- The UC Berkeley Class of 2020 will still have the opportunity to graduate in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis through the online gaming platform, Minecraft.

For the past month, Cal students from around the world have constructed realistic renderings of campus spaces using digital blocks of varying colors and textures. "Blockeley University" features nearly all campus buildings and landmarks, including Memorial Stadium, the Campanile, and the Greek Theater.

The project creator, Bjorn Lustic said, "Especially for the seniors who are graduating this year, they don't get that closure. So, it really gives them the kind of outlet to say, okay, this is my final step here."

The virtual graduation event will be held on May 16, the same day that commencement was originally set to take place.

Cal senior student and Minecraft builder, Nick Pickett said, "It's going to be an open day for everyone to explore campus, kind of relive their memories, take photos."

Graduating seniors are slated to receive digitized caps, gowns, and diplomas. For those who don't have a Minecraft account, the ceremony will be streamed online.

Elliot Choi, a UCB senior and Minecraft builder, believes that the project demonstrates the perseverance of the Cal Class of 2020.

"We've gone through protests, we've gone through power outages, we've gone through fires, but I think this whole project itself shows our resilience and our ability to carry on," said Choi.

Click the video above to hear from the project creator, Bjorn Lustic, as well as senior student builders, Elliot Choi and Nick Pickett.