Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Unlace the corset, slip into some sweats

Second Life main art
Azure Moonlight’s corset is chafing, and her boots pinch her size-2 feet. She’s had a hard day of flying, shopping and dancing in the virtual world of Second Life.Second Life mug-Cougar eyes
     Fortunately, she can teleport over to J. Coug for the latest in Washington State University loungewear.
     “Avatars may want to get comfortable and show their Coug spirit when they visit WSU’s Second Life campus,” said Brian Maki, media production manager for WSU’s Center for Distance and Professional Education, which built the virtual campus. “So we created some typical WSU attire, like, well, sweatpants.”
     The most popular item is the women’s long-sleeve T-shirt, followed by the women’s sweatpants. Other big hits are the Cougar foam finger, and spiked hair in WSU’s school colors of crimson and gray.
     Some merchandise is unisex (a giant foam finger knows no gender), but men’s clothing is still on the drawing board.
     “I’m thinking of a crimson and gray tuxedo for formal events,” said Kayla Sheeley, a WSU senior who designs the apparel for the CDPE. “Not that we have those here in Eastern Washington, but anything’s possible in Second Life.” More...     Most Second Life stores charge in Linden dollars (one U.S. dollar equals 250 Linden dollars), but all the WSU items are free. So far, about 80 have been given away.
     WSU Second Life project leader David Cillay, associate CDPE dean, sees the virtual campus as a place for collaboration, research, arts and music, conferences, and courses.
     “WSU works to engage people who can’t come to campus,” Cillay said. “That’s why we have Extension programs, and our online degree program, WSU Online. Second Life is another way we reach out.”
     The virtual campus is most well known for hosting the annual Edward R. Murrow Journalism Summit, with such speakers as Second Life creator Philip Rosedale, and journalists Helen Thomas and Bob Schieffer.
     WSU is continually adding new features to the Second Life campus, Cillay said, but sometimes the student designers get a bit too creative:
     “I went along with the spiked Cougar hair,” he said, “but I deleted the hot tub.”
By Richard H. Miller/WSU Online

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