Campus Party is an annual week-long technology festival and LAN party. Thousands of hackers, developers, gamers, and geeks attend the conference, now hosted in multiple locations each year. Participants refer to themselves as Campuseros, and have created a community that yearns to reunite each year.
Founded as a gaming and demo scene event, the first Campus Party was held in 1997 in Spain. It became international in 2008, and has been hosted in Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Germany, and other countries around the world. The event's organizers have announced plans to hold Campus Party in Silicon Valley, California in the near future. This will be the first time the conference will be held in the United States, although a date has not yet been set.
The event brings together online communities, gamers, programmers, bloggers, universities, and students under a broad technologically-oriented focus. The topics emphasized at Campus Party include free software, programming, astronomy, social media, gaming, green technology, robotics, security networks, and computer modeling. Campus Party's stated goal is to bring together the best talent to share experiences and innovate for a "better tomorrow."
Something Better is an initiative announced at the 2011 Campus Party Brazil event, which promotes the idea that the "Internet isn't a network of computers, but a network of people" and to encourage the responsible and proper use of the networks. This initiative also addresses issues such as Internet privacy, piracy, spam, and cyberbullying. Another objective of the Something Better initiative is to help stimulate the growth of technology infrastructures in developing countries, with the first destinations for the project being Colombia and Ghana.
Free software is a core component of Campus Party's structure. The conference organizers believe that free and open source software is a "new way of writing the rules of digital society" and indicates a "profound change in the relationship between the industry, software creators and all who participate in the construction of a world where knowledge knows no boundaries." Many images that accompany articles on Reality Sandwich are licensed with the Version 3.0 Creative Commons license, an open source credential that was unveiled at Campus Party 2010.
A Green Campus initiative began in 2007 with the goal of making the event focused on green technology and improving the environment. The organization has made a commitment to reduce CO2 emissions and sponsors competitions in the green technology sector. Futura Networks planted a tree for every Campusero who attended the event with the Nature Foundation in 2007.
Campus Party is held in large indoor arenas and split into several sections: the exposition center, the stages, and LAN party. Campuseros sleep together in a large tent community named the Campus Party Village, which includes camping, restaurants and a dining hall, a relaxation zone with TVs and gaming consoles, and a massage center. Imagine an outdoor music or transformational festival that has moved inside, and that is what the environment in the Campus Party Village looks like.
With all of the positive innovations coming out of Campus Party, it is worth our time as a global community to gather around the virtual campfire and listen to their message. Only together can we create the better tomorrow that the event organizers have visualized.
Image provided by Dmgultekin, courtesy of Creative Commons licensing.