Using the Virtual World

to Improve Our World

A Conference on the Use of Virtual Environments and Social Networking

to Effect Societal Change

Sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund


The conference will be held both live on campus and simultaneously in Second Life®.

Who Should Attend?

Those who are interested in new and innovative approaches to addressing societal issues.  Students, Faculty, Staff and anyone interested  in non-profits, social networking environments, industry, government . 


Please RSVP to Deborah Stark-Knight, 313-593-3403 by May 28, 2009


Conference Speakers :
Conference Date:
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009
JJ Jacobson (JJ Drinkwater) (Second Life Venue) 
-Real Community/ Virtual Neighborhoods Second life as an integrative  tool

Conference Schedule

Registration / Sign in9:00 AM
Lunch (catered) 12:00 PM
Closing remarks3:15 PM

Patricia Anderson (Peplexity Peccable)
-The Obama Story Through Social Media
Conference Location

Randal Woodland (Rudolfo Woodget)
(Second Life Venue)

-A Tale of Two Communities

University of michigan – Dearborn
Institute for Advanced Vehicle Systems
Marc Stephens (Memetic Projects)
-Virtual First Responder
1101 BorgWarner Auditorium,
4901 Evergreen Rd,  dearborn MI 48109
Bruce Maxim (BruceRobert Mizin)
Campus of Hope Project Overview
Matthew Sable (Seraph Denimore) -
-Campus of Hope Demos


Conference Overview:     

Inspired and sponsored by the Ford Motor Company Fund’s College Community Challenge project, the University of Michigan-Dearborn is proud to host a conference dedicated to examining the issues and opportunities that technology in general and virtual environments in particular provide for addressing pressing social needs. This conference will include presenters from industry, non-profits, government, and universities who are using various forms of technology to change society. This forum and discussion will provide for the exchange of best practices and innovative ideas that can accelerate the pace of change.


Project Background:                            
In response to the Ford Motor Company College Community Challenge to develop “sustainable communities”, the University of Michigan-Dearborn proposed and was funded to use Second Life® as an environment to build a community to improve awareness, participation and effectiveness of food banks in Michigan. Student teams have been working with the Food Bank Council of Michigan and local agencies to build a community among their network of food banks, conceptualize the parameters of their problems (e.g. efficient distribution of canned goods), collaboratively develop and test solutions (e.g. minimal cost delivery route), and then implement the solution in the real world.

Second Life® is a 3-D virtual world that is created by its online participants (Residents). Since opening to the public in 2003, it has grown explosively and as of today is inhabited by millions of Residents from around the globe. It is a global community working together to build a new online space for creativity, collaboration, commerce, and entertainment. It strives to bridge cultures; welcomes diversity, values free expression, compassion and tolerance are the foundation for community in this new world.

Virtual worlds, in general, are equipped with social networking facilities and online collaboration tools (integrating blogs, personal homepages and sometimes VoIP), which transformed them into highly valuable tools for e-learning and distance collaboration.