Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund

I wanted to create a separate entry about my efforts in SL to raise money for the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund (HSMF).

Some months ago - maybe as long ago as last April - I created a Virginia Tech t-shirt that my avatar could wear in SL. Those who see me regularly "know" it's Milo because of my maroon and orange shirt - with "Virginia Tech" and "VT" on the front, and our mascot, the Hokie Bird, on the back. I sometimes wear other shirts or costumes - but the VT gear and black pants are my normal attire. Since I do not have official licensing permission from the university, I never sold the shirts - just gave them away to other Tech faculty or students working/playing in-world. Monday's event changed everything - and when it was declared on Wednesday of last week that Friday, April 20 would be "Hokie Hope" day... wear people across the nation were encouraged to wear orange and maroon (specifically, burnt orange and Chicago maroon), I knew I had to act quickly. I immediately thought that with the tools I had, I could turn this into a fund-raising opportunity for the HSMF.

So, from late Wednesday to early Thursday morning (2 am EST), I worked to set up a vendor (created/scripted by SL's Eloise Pasteur) that allows visitors to donate to the HSMF. They could choose from six different amounts - ranging from $1 US (approx. L$300) to $100 US (approx. L$30,000). For *any* donation amount, one receives the VT t-shirt I created for SL. I set up two vendors at the Info Island memorial site, and then another on the plot donated by Linden Lab. Two more vendors (including one with a white VT shirt) is at the "Illusions Night Club" in SL, run by an avatar whose RL dad is a Virginia Tech alumnus. There is also a vendor at the ICT Library (of course).

At the suggestion of a visitor to the memorial on Thursday, I added "open-ended" donation boxes, so that one could add any amount large or small. These co-exist with the shirt vendors. My goal is to get as many vendors and donations boxes in-world as possible, to see what happens over the next 30 days. I am also trying to work with others to coordinate fund-raising efforts.

As I write this, the shirt vendors and donation boxes have taken in nearly $420 US, or almost 1/2 the target amount of $1,000 US!! I am going to work with Linden Lab (or hope to) on a way to convert the funds from Linden dollars to real money without incuring a fee.

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