Our Rotary club meets in the Metaverse

Member avatars sit in a virtual room with a deep purple backdrop.
A recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Metaverso

By Juana Maria Serrano Marin, president of the Rotary Club of Metaverso, District 2203, Spain

Juana Maria Serrano Marin

A few months ago, a guest speaker at my husband’s Rotary club told the group about the vast possibilities of the Metaverse as a virtual meeting place. Not long after, a person on our district’s membership committee suggested that my husband form a new club – in the Metaverse.

The Metaverse is a collection of online spaces where users can explore virtual and augmented reality. Users can create avatars to represent themselves, then interact virtually with objects and settings. Wikipedia defines the Metaverse as “a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection.” Early components of Metaverse technology have been used in video game design for at least two decades. But increasingly, businesses and other entities are using the technology to reach people and create social connections online.

My husband and I are both familiar with the Metaverse. We don’t have any specific interest in virtual reality, but we’re intrigued by the possibilities for using the Metaverse as a meeting point and a place for easily accessible digital information.

A platform in Spatial

Not long after the club meeting, I began dabbling (with my husband’s help) on a 3D metaverse platform called Spatial. I started building a virtual space for our proposed club. As the idea rolled forward, we attracted more and more interest and gathered enough prospective members to propose a Metaverse-centered club to our district officials.

After an in-person training session in Alicante on 12 November, along with other necessary procedural steps, we were ready to announce ourselves as one of the first Rotary clubs in the Metaverse. We were admitted into Rotary on 28 November, with 15 women and six men. Our club’s average age is 42, with two members who are 20 years old, one having transferred from a Rotaract club.

This meeting format has real advantages. Flexible and innovative, it attracts a diverse membership base and helps us reach new demographics. That’s in keeping with President-elect R. Gordon R. McInally’s desire for new clubs that will allow Rotary to exist everywhere, in a style that suits everyone who wants to be part of the organization and help us do good.

The club isn’t just another E-club. Meetings are held in our virtual space on the Spatial platform. There are virtual meeting spots, places to view greetings from other members, and areas where you can learn about Rotary and our local and international projects. Visitors can create their own avatars and move around the space, interacting with the environment and other visitors. They don’t need headsets or any other dedicated equipment to join in. The controls can be manipulated with a keyboard or simple mobile device menus.

Avatars unite

What makes this platform so immersive is that, after just a few sessions, people identify with their avatars online and experiences become “personal.” It’s quite different from just taking part in a Zoom meeting or videoconference.

Of course, while our regular meetings are held in our virtual space, we also plan to meet face-to-face. We all like to hug, talk, and share moments together in person. We had an in-person training session on 12 November, and everyone who came was very excited. It was so gratifying to see how much interest there was and how much people wanted to learn.

I’m sure our meetings and offerings will grow and adapt as the metaverse grows and adapts. Just like any other club, we plan to serve and seek out projects that better our communities in the real world. In the future, no doubt, we’ll also find causes we can address in the virtual space. To explore this exciting new venture, come check us out.

13 thoughts on “Our Rotary club meets in the Metaverse

  1. Excellent and innovative idea. We have to be creative and current to increase our membership, after all the basis of everything we do. We have to be on the cutting edge and proactive. Congratulations.

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  2. Hola Juana Maria Serrano Marin
    Congratulations on your Rotary Metaverse Club. Yesterday I visited your meeting place in the Metaverse. It was a great experience. Too bad I didn’t meet anyone. When are you meeting? I hope to see you soon in the Metaverse. Greetings from Dietmar Bräuer Rotary Club Bernburg-Köthen Germany District 1800

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  3. Hello !
    Rotaryb Greetings Maria !!

    It was great knowing the experience .However we connect ,connection is
    important.
    I would be thankful if allowed to join one such meeting.The experience can
    help me look to create oppotunities around us.
    I am based in kolkata ,India.

    Keep spreading Love and creating Hope

    Amar kumar malhotra (Rotary Club
    of Belur ,Dist 3291,INDIA)

    Like

  4. Whaw! What a great idea!
    Anneke Assen
    PDG D1550 , South East Netherlands, RC Nijmegen (Nimega)
    living some months in Spain, just south of Alicante

    Like

  5. Pingback: ROTARY PRESENCIAL, VIRTUAL e METAVERSO … | FORTALECENDO O ROTARY

  6. hello,dear Maria,
    This is Teresa Fu from Taipei, the Rotary club of Taipei Metaverse .
    We noticed your news here, so there are at least 3 members here to say hello and congratulations to you ! 🥳
    From Imagine Rotary to Create Hope in the World, we believe there are lots of interesting things to do !
    We are expecting to know you more, and keep in touch , that’s build a better us, better world !

    Teresa ( 3522 District, Taipei Metaverse Club )

    Like

  7. Hi, I love the idea.
    Would love to sign up for that club if possible.
    I am Miriame in Rotary Club Abidjan Atlantis, District 9101.

    Like

  8. Hola! It’s super interesting to came across your amazing metaverse rotary club!

    I’m Aibo; International Service from Taipei Universe Rotary Club region 3522 district 8.

    We are the first Rotary club in using Metaverse in Chinese language globally.

    Let’s mingle further on zoom or your amazing metaverse platform^ ^

    Cheers,

    Aibo Tsai
    Taipei Universe Rotary International Service

    Like

  9. In the mid-2000s, I belonged to one of the ten pilot Rotary eClubs, the Rotary E-Club of London Centenary, RID-1130. We first used Skype, but it was poor. I started using WebEx ($70/mo). We met with our cameras on. We saw each other and talked to each other. We had programs.

    While VR may be fun and avatars nice, a live meeting accomplishes exactly what live meetings do.

    Jump to the start of the COVID-19 years, and my RID-6440, “The Home District,” paid for each club to have a Zoom account. For some, there was a learning curve. Today, a great many Rotarians know how to navigate Zoom. So much can be accomplished at a lower cost. Zoom also allows for breakout groups. Clubs are having hybrid meetings, and invite speakers from all over the world. What was proven effective by the best practices gleaned from successful Rotary eClubs, was the model that got us through COVID-19. I don’t trust the longevity of the Metaverse, and I do not trust its security. I believe it will be a very hard sell for most Rotarians.

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