The VR Club was founded in 2019 with a group of students who were passionate about the technology and where it might go in the future. With the help of the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning (CITL), they ran their first meeting at the beginning of the fall semester. Siwen Wang was the first president of VR Club, creating club meetings that involved discussion of recent news, open hours, and some fun competitive gaming. Jaewook Lee taught the VR Club’s first development class titled “VR Drift”. Over the course of the semester, students came in for a 2 hour class on Saturday to learn about the fundamentals of Unity and how to create VR games with the engine.
After Siwen left the role, CITL lab manager Andrew Daly took up the role as the second president of VR Club. His goal was to create an inclusive space for the VR Club to make sure it did not die through the COVID-19 pandemic. With the creation of the club’s first outreach team, he was able to distribute duties and create the first club board. With other students such as Rahul Mahesh and Chaitu Maroju, he kept consistent club meetings as students arrived back from quarantine periods at home.
With the entire board graduating, the club duties were passed onto Robbie Sieczkowski, a student in Media and Cinema Studies seeking to understand XR as a medium for communication, education, and art. With a fresh beginning for the club, he recruited a new board of Zade Lobo, Zach Krauter, and Johnny Wolf to help him build up the member base and make the club strong. With our club outgrowing the technology at CITL, we sought a new home in the Grainger IDEA Lab where we had new technology and larger access to support the club’s needs. Robbie implemented a lot of change, encouraging field trip activities and themed events. He continues on in the club as the academic advisor in the Informatics Ph.D. program.
Zade Lobo took over as the president and appointed Zach Krauter as his vice president. They and the rest of the board have supported club activities by introducing new events such as MiXR, create-a-thons, Engineering Open House, and arena-scale VR events. Zade worked to promote VR all across campus through outreach and marketing, hoping to promote an interdisciplinary community of academics, enthusiasts, and novices alike.