When the COVID-19 pandemic began closing down universities, the Yeti team teamed up with Northeastern University to build a series of digital events that would keep students engaged and connected while remote.
We recently exapanded on this remote event concept to create a 3D virtual event experience that would replicate the universities annual fundrasier for the American Cancer Society - The Relay For Life.
Every year Northeastern University hosts a Relay for Life Fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. During typical years this event features cancer survivors and caregivers walking laps around a relay track as a means of fundraising, and includes games, activities, food, music and speakers as well as a Luminaria Ceremony that is central to the event.
This year, due to COVID-19 restrictions, hosting an in-person Relay For Life wasn’t possible - but because the event is so important to both the university and the American Cancer Society communities, Northeastern hoped to host a virtual event with many of the same features as the in-person fundraiser.
Our challenge was to create a 3D virtual event experience that would include the central features of the Relay For Life including a mainstage and relay track, activities booths, a donations scoreboard and a Luminaria Ceremony.
To create a virtual venue for the Relay for Life we 3D modeled the events in-person events location - the Northeastern University gym.
Upon entering via secure login event attendees were asked to create a fun, personalized avatar. Once their avatar is created attendees then had the ability to explore the event at their own pace. A schedule of events provided information on when and where activities and mainstage events would be held, and pop ups appeared to remind attendees when start times are near.
We placed “Booths” around the perimeter of the gym - by entering these booths attendees had the ability to participate in various activities such as crafting, baking, and tik tok dance tutorials via zoom conferencing. Because this years relay theme was “Around the World” each booth was modeled after an iconic world destination - the pyramids, Big Ben, the Taj Mahal etc.
In addition to the booths we created a mainstage as the focal point of the event. Throughout the Relay for Life various speakers and performances were scheduled to present to the entire group of attendees present.
The Luminara Ceremony is a key piece of the Relay For Life. During this ceremony candles are lit inside Luminaria bags that have been dedicated to individuals whose lives have been touched by cancer, followed by a moment of silence.
To replicate this ceremony in the virtual space we provided attendees with the ability to dedicate virtual Luminaria bags via a donation. At the scheduled Ceremony time the lights in the arena were dimmed and the Luminaria bags were illuminated spelling out the words “Hope” and “Cure”, followed by speakers presenting on the mainstage.
At multiple areas around the venue we placed a “Scoreboard” keeping track of donations in real time.
To provide presenters with the ability to customize their booths we created an easy-to-use portal where they have the ability to upload any information and relevant content. customize their booth with relevant information and content. We additionally provided the Relay For Life team with access to a super admin where they have the ability to review and edit the information provided by presenters.
The Relay For Life was an extremly successful event, ultimately raising over $80,000 for cancer research! We're excited to continue working with Northeastern University on creating new and exciting virtual events!