Katie Filiakova ’22 first developed the idea for a Bowdoin Minecraft Club in the middle of March, while sitting in the Moulton Union with a friend. Little did she know that less than a month later, the digitally-generated campus on the Bowdoin Minecraft server would be the nearest she could get to the real thing.
“It was kind of unplanned perfect timing,” said Filiakova.
Filiakova developed the Bowdoin server along with Cillian McDonagh ’22 and Steven Xu ’22 in the weeks before spring break, and it came online in late March, soon after the College announced the transition to online classes.
Now, the server provides students with a unique opportunity to stay connected on a virtual platform.
“It wasn’t initially planned to be for the quarantine … but when this whole thing sparked, [we realized] we needed to get the server going, because now people are looking for more ways to connect,” said Filiakova.
Filiakova also started the Minecraft Club to facilitate informal, creative interaction for students online.
The club faced some initial difficulties getting off the ground. Filiakova explained that Student Activities was initially hesitant to support a virtual club, but Minecraft Club was soon successfully chartered with the support of the Class of 2022 Council.
With over 60 students registered on the server so far, the club leaders have continued to add new features and gradually develop the server as players contribute suggestions.
“I like the fact that it’s mostly not formal,” said Filiakova. “[We’re] doing certain events with prizes to keep people entertained, but we’re really just letting people do what they want to do.”
The club has recently incorporated Minecraft Factions into the Bowdoin server, which allows players to form groups within the game. Filiakova was pleasantly surprised to see students naming factions after campus landmarks such as Winthrop Hall and Druckenmiller Hall.
The server even got a shout-out in a campus-wide email from Senior Vice President and Dean for Student Affairs Janet Lohmann.
“There is always Bowdoin Minecraft,” wrote Lohmann in an email on March 27. “While learning virtually, you can build your own virtual community.”
Filiakova is pleased to see how the club has allowed students to maintain a sense of unity despite being physically apart.
“I’m really happy we can help at least [some people] to keep the social circle together,” she said.
Though mainly designed for students, the Bowdoin Minecraft server also welcomes members of the broader College community. Interested players can join the server at IP address 188.8.131.52:27095.