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The Imaginarium, housed inside the Edward M. Dowd Art and Art History Building at Santa Clara University, serves as a “sandbox” for experimenting with both virtual and augmented reality. Inside the space, students, faculty, and staff can both build and experience several different VR systems, including Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Microsoft HoloLens.

The 2017-18 school year launches a variety of VR activities in the College of Arts and Sciences. The inaugural “Virtual Reality 101” bootcamp (ARTS 197A) gets under way this fall quarter. The class, which meets one day a week, will help 60 students learn to create their own VR experience from the ground up, including introductions to coding, story building, equipment management, and content creation.

Students enrolled in the class will be invited to participate in the inaugural Imagine That! competition where they will create teams of up to four students from different academic disciplines. Throughout the year, the students will pitch and create their own virtual reality experience to answer a question, solve a problem, or address a topic. Virtual reality industry professionals will help mentor the projects during the winter and spring quarters. The contest will conclude with the submission and judging phase, which focuses on artistic design and creativity. Students will receive feedback on their projects from VR experts and studio art faculty. The winning team will receive a cash prize; all students participating in the contest will learn about internship and career opportunities with major VR companies.