Some of our networking events will be held in GatherTown, a unique video-conferencing platform that simulates an in-person environment (similar to a role playing game or “RPG”) where you can move around and interact with different people and even play games.

The layout of the virtual building was designed by Bradley McCandless, MPP'22, to replicate the layout of the Keller Center and The Pub at UChicago. In this blog post, McCandless reflects on building the virtual Keller Center, and we share some instructions to use the platform.    

“Building the GatherTown Keller Center was important to me. I made my decision to come to Harris largely because of my overwhelmingly positive experience at Admitted Students’ Day in 2020, and wanted to ensure that prospective students connecting virtually had as interactive of an experience as possible. GatherTown itself is a fairly intuitive platform, and so I set out with the goal of building the Keller Center as true to form as possible while also giving it some added quirks that only a virtual environment can facilitate. Hopefully we’ve been able to create via GatherTown some of the more spontaneous elements that would normally come with an in-person event and that a more traditional Zoom event would be unable to support.”

—Bradley McCandless, MPP Class of 2022

Below is the general layout of virtual Keller, and we encourage you to wander around and explore using the arrow keys on your keyboard. 

  • Ground Floor: Admissions and Advising Offices, the help desk, and several seating areas to gather. You can also take the exit on the upper left to enter The Pub
  • Lower Level: student lounge areas, the student kitchen, the Forum where large gatherings are held, and several classrooms
  • Second Floor: staff and faculty lounge areas and classrooms 
  • Third Floor: lounge areas and tables potentially with themes
  • Fourth Floor: The Sky Suite Lounge—a place to gather for events and studying, which in person overlooks the campus

If this is your first time using the GatherTown platform, here's what you need to know:

  • You will need to log in using your email address associated with your UChicago application.
  • Select “Send magic link” and you should receive a link to join to your email within a few minutes.

  • Once your “magic link” arrives, you will be prompted to allow camera and microphone access. You will need to select make sure microphone and webcam are enabled in order to join conversations. 

  • Select your avatar. You can select a new avatar by clicking your avatar with the green dot on the bottom center of the screen, and toggling left and right through the options for “character” and “shirt.” 

  • You can use the arrow keys on your keyboard to navigate around the space.
  • As you move your avatar around the space, if you move close to someone else’s avatar their video screen will pop up so that you can chat. 
  • If you move your avatar farther away, the video will fade out and you will no longer be able to chat over video.
  • There are seating areas where you can chat with a small group of people in private. Join an open seat and you will be able to join the conversation in those spaces. People outside of the designated seating area cannot hear the conversation, and those seated cannot hear conversations happening outside of the seating area.

  • If you are looking for someone you met earlier, you can search them in the participant list and click “locate.”

  • A black line will be drawn leading you to them. You may also select “follow,” which will automatically move your avatar towards them. Note, this feature only works if the participant is on the same floor as you.


  • There are four floors of the virtual Keller Center that you will have the opportunity to explore at various networking events, and a virtual Forum for listening to speakers at larger gatherings. 
  • You can enter another level of the virtual Keller Center center by walking toward the arrows near one of the below labeled spaces.
enter another level
enter another level


  • You can also visit the directors in their offices in the lower left-hand corner of the first floor of the Virtual Keller Center.


directors offices
Admissions directors' offices.
  • Afterwards, you may join your new classmates in the virtual Pub to chat and play games. Bring your favorite beverage!
the virtual pub
Afterwards, join your new classmates in the virtual Pub to chat and play games.

Please note:

  • You must use Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox to access the GatherTown platform.
  • You will need a microphone and video camera connection, which you will need to enable upon logging in to GatherTown.
  • Make sure your computer is plugged into a power source, as the platform takes a lot of processing power/CPU. 
  • Your video and audio will automatically come on when you join the space, and there is not an opportunity to insert a background like in Zoom. Navigate around using the arrow keys. 

Before our event, please feel free to test out navigating the platform using this demo link!