At a traditional Homecoming Carni-Bull, students would enjoy rides, feast on greasy food truck snacks and watch the homecoming parade as an exciting finale to a week of celebrating Bull pride. This year, however, the rides, parades and snacks have been replaced with something a little different as a result of COVID-19.
The Homecoming Carni-Bull will be held through an immersive virtual platform known as Degy World. Students will get to create their own avatar and engage with other students virtually while participating in different carnival-style activities. The event, featuring virtual games, prizes and live entertainment, will cost CSI $12,175 and will take place from 5-8 p.m. on Friday.
Campus Activities Board Coordinator Alexis Fuentes said participants are required to preregister any time before 4:30 p.m. the day of the event. Once they have registered, they will be able to log in and create their own avatars in preparation for the event.
“Preregistration is mandatory because the software requires students to download it in advance,” Fuentes said. “You can log in at any time once you have the software link provided to you.”
While the event has enough room for 800 people, only 56 had registered as of Friday. Fuentes said that they are hoping for an uptick in registrations as the event gets closer.
“We are excited for students to have the opportunity to still engage with each other in a virtual setting and be able to participate in everything we have to offer during the event,” he said.
Once the Carni-Bull begins, students will be able to enter the event space which is reminiscent of a location in “The Sims” or the OASIS in Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One.”
“There is a common area which is open to the public, two stages which is where the radio station is going to be and then an exhibition hall which is where the main action is going to happen,” Fuentes said. “That is where we will have our activities and our virtual partners. There will also be a virtual scavenger hunt so that students can explore the space.”
An audio feature is enabled that will allow participants to talk and communicate in real time.
“You can walk through people and hear conversations just like you would have in person,” Fuentes said.
When students initially enter the event, they will be faced with large billboards describing times and locations of certain events.
“We will be doing different types of activities, such as trivia and ‘Guess the Lyric,’” Fuentes said.
He said that the trivia will be two rotating themes. One will be Vine and the other will be a combination of trivia from the musicals “Mamma Mia” and “Grease.” Students can expect a similar rotation for Guess the Lyric which will include categories such as “throwback” and “today’s hits.”
There will also be games available for students to play.
“The arcade games are something that they recently just told me about,” Fuentes said. “We have not seen them because it is an addition that they added after our virtual tour.”
Some of the games and activities may result in prizes which will then be shipped to winners.
“The vendor that we are working with is doing airbrush T-shirts and individualized custom masks,” Fuentes said.
Along with games and activities, there will also be stages set up for live music from a Bulls Radio DJ.
“There is an option where you can do different dance moves in this concert area,” Fuentes said. “It is impressive that this vendor has thought of all of these small things.”
Though the Carni-Bull will not include rides, food trucks or a parade like it would in a traditional year, Fuentes said students can expect the same amount of Bull pride.
“Our carnival event is a culmination of the whole week,” Fuentes said. “It celebrates our USF spirit and encompasses our entire homecoming week. We really want students to participate in it.”