I just finished doing a first read-through of the submitted proposals for the USC Network Culture Project’s "Second Life and Public Good Community Challenge". There’s a rich assortment of innovative projects on the table, all of which are worthy of support in their own right. Winnowing it down to just five is going to be quite a task for the selection committee, I can see already.
Of the topics of the proposals, I can see some emerging themes. Several were health-related, assisting people with disabilities, those with chronic illness, obesity or other disorders. Several others focus on environmental concerns like sustainable cities and climate change. Other communities of focus include returning veterans and Native Americans.
Overall, few proposals focus on the technology as much as the communities and social networks of virtual worlds, which I found interesting.
The kinds of activity being proposed includes: issue awareness and education, support group activities, political dialogue, and service and information provision. None of them focused on fundraising!
The selection committee will be meeting shortly to try and come to consensus on the pre-finalists before a round of community voting begins. Keep and eye on the Network Culture Project website for updates. The winners will be announced on July 1.