UNCP booth wins 'best in show' at virtual college fair
The first college fair for prospective students ever to be held in the virtual world Second Life was an "amazing experience," according to Dr. Anthony Curtis (Mass Communications).
The weekend event on October 20-21 was in Teen Second Life, an international gathering place where students ages 13-17 take part in organized activities.
"Our booth was voted best in show," Dr. Curtis reported.
The realistic three dimensional Second Life was developed on the Internet by the San Francisco company Linden Lab. Residents in both the teen and adult areas of Second Life shape their own virtual world.
"Teens are in a separate area away from adults. Only teens and Linden staff are allowed there," Dr. Curtis explained. "The two areas don't intermingle.
"Only after a thorough background check may so-called 'approved adults' go to Teen Second Life," he said.
"Linden Lab does this to make it a safe and pleasant place for young people to be."
Occasionally, Linden Lab sends in teachers for special educational projects. Like any adult who enters Teen Second Life, the instructors must undergo a complete background check before being allowed to enter.
UNCP senior Amanda Hickey, editor of The Pine Needle student newspaper, took part in the college fair with Dr. Curtis. Both became "approved adults" before entering. The fact that adults were present was made clear to each teen as they entered the fair.
The virtual college fair came about because a student wanted more information on colleges, financial aid and how to fill out applications. When several other teens had similar questions, the fair was born.
It was held on a teen island owned by the Eye4You Alliance, which is a partnership between the Alliance Library System of 250 Illinois public libraries and the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, the largest public library system in the Carolinas.
"The event was very much like the admissions open houses we have on our Pembroke campus," Dr. Curtis said. "The layout consisted of booths or stalls where the college reps displayed posters, flipbooks and other handouts, streamed videos, and gave away t-shirts to prospective students.""Our UNCP t-shirts were free and available in eight bright colors," Dr. Curtis said.