QUCraft rebuilds Queen’s campus in Minecraft

New club hopes to help students connect virtually

QUCraft has built 80 per cent of Queen’s campus on their Minecraft server so far.
QUCraft Instagram

QUCraft, a new Minecraft club, is giving students the ability to experience campus virtually.

Founded in October 2020, the club aims to connect the Queen’s community through recreating campus on Minecraft. It has organized two Minecraft worlds: a campus world where players can work together to rebuild the campus, and a regular survival world where participants can play the game amongst fellow Queen’s students.

“[We wanted to] provide students with a way to access their campus [in] a safe and socially distanced way,” John Le, director of financial logistics, said in an interview with The Journal.

According to co-founder Vasa Shpatrov, the COVID-19 pandemic was a driving force behind the club’s organization.

“When we started, it was really only about constructing the campus,” Shpatrov said.  

"We saw that other universities, mostly in the US, but also some in Canada and around the world—since the pandemic hit and we couldn’t have a graduation—a lot were trying to build their campuses in Minecraft. And we thought, well, why don’t we do this as well?”

QUCraft has currently rebuilt about 80 per cent of Queen’s campus on the server. This number represents building exteriors—it plans to finish by the end of the year and move on to floor plans and interiors from there.

The club currently has about 1,000 members on Discord, 500 on the server, and 20-50 active players at a given time. In February, it grew from 300 registered members to 500 and increased player activity within the server.

At the 2021 Winter Referendum on Feb. 9 and 10, QUCraft obtained a $0.10 student fee, subject to individual opt-out.

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Since its founding, QUCraft has evolved into a social space, connecting students through a shared interest in Minecraft. It organizes biweekly events with different activities to foster student engagement. 

“Students can meet their friends. They can hang out, have a community, they can hang out with like-minded people who really enjoy Minecraft,” Le said.

QUCraft has also developed into a platform that connects alumni with current and prospective students. 

“Someone was building Morris Hall, and they’re a second-year student, and they’re building their room,” Shpatrov said. “Then an alumni also visits them at the same time and says, 'hey, I lived in the room beside yours, how was it?' Then they get talking and sharing their experiences.”

“At the same time, first-year and prospective students engage in that conversation while virtually being together.”

QUCraft has been involved in partnerships with the Queen’s Squirrel Watching Club and has a fundraiser collaboration with the Queen’s chapter of Heart4Heart coming up next week. 

“In the future, we’re hoping to do more collaborations with other clubs,” Le said. “Overall, [we want to] increase collaboration with other clubs, increase collaboration with other faculties and different departments and use our server as a way for new students to meet their university and have fun.” 

QUCraft is currently in conversations with the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science (FEAS) about organizing an event for incoming first-year students. Students would be able to access a voice channel on the server in which they can ask the Dean of FEAS questions while he’s on the campus world. This event would also function as a virtual tour of the campus.

Students interested in getting involved can join the server and apply to be a builder through the QUCraft Discord.

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