Wash. U. takes school pride online

| Sports Editor
The battle lines have been drawn and a few hundred Washington University students are locked in combat with University Athletic Association conference rivals.

Wash. U. students have been competing against hundreds of students from New York University, Emory University, the University of Chicago, the University of Rochester, Case Western Reserve University, Carnegie Mellon University and Brandeis University in an online game of GoCrossCampus for control of the United States east of the Mississippi. This is the first time GoCrossCampus has pitted UAA schools against each other.

Anyone with a wustl.edu e-mail account can join the Bears’ army.

The online strategy game is like Risk in multiple ways. Commanders are elected from the ranks of a team, and these commanders create the battle plan and long-term strategy. The commanders also attempt to forge alliances with other teams.

Wash. U. is led by senior Antonio Rodriguez, sophomore Roger Alessi and sophomore Brett Yang.

“No one takes it too seriously,” Rodriguez said. “It’s just fun. This is a really cool way to represent Wash. U.”

Game turns last for 24 hours. At the end of each turn, orders are processed and teams receive bonus points for conquering territories and establishing an empire, with the final objective of the game being to eradicate the other teams and take every territory.

Wash. U. started off well with a large number of students, but Case Western Reserve has caught up. As of 3 p.m. on Thursday, 212 Wash. U. students and 355 Case Western players have signed up.

“We are definitely not out. If we get a lot of new players, it would really help,” Rodriguez said.

The site also offers a game chat, where students from various schools can share common problems that face college students, share jokes, fan rivalries or learn about other schools in the conference. There is also a team chat where players from the same school can interact.

“I play it because, especially being a commander, you get to talk to people from other schools that you would never talk with,” Rodriguez said. “It’s a community.”

“I’m a pretty competitive person, so I fully endorse rivalries, as long as it’s all in good fun,” sophomore Jennifer Varriano of the volleyball team said. “You can maintain a rivalry with another school outside of sports.”

As of turn 16 on Thursday afternoon, Wash. U. sits in fourth place with eight territories while Case Western Reserve is in first with 58 territories. New York University, Carnegie Mellon and Emory have already been eliminated.

All of the students interviewed emphasized the ease in getting involved.

“It takes only two minutes a day,” sophomore Michelle Lu said. “Sign in, click energize, move your energy and you’re done.”

When Varriano was asked if she would be willing to take on-court UAA rivalries to the Internet, she said, “Why not? It doesn’t look too difficult.”

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