With the 2015 Train Jam event quickly approaching, it’s time to highlight one of our most exciting new endeavors – the student ambassador program!
Last year, during the inaugural Train Jam event, there were a number of students who signed up to participate thinking that it sounded like a fun way to get themselves to San Francisco for GDC. A few of them talked to me about their experiences afterwards, and I was amazed at just how impactful it was to these students. For many of them, it was their first time attending a GDC event, and they felt that by participating in Train Jam, they were able to go into GDC already having had time to meet a number of their peers and idols and making invaluable connections.
So, when the planning for Train Jam 2015 started revving up and I relayed this story to my colleague John Lindvay, he immediately conceived of and pitched the idea of a “student ambassador” program. This program would consist of a set of Train Jam tickets that would be available only to students. With these tickets, we would reach out to various schools to encourage them to support their students to attend and participate in Train Jam.
To supplement the student ambassador experience, the organizers of GDC conference graciously provided us with a number of Expo passes to include in the ticket sales for students. This means that all students who are attending Train Jam 2015 had access to both the Train Jam event as well as the expo hall of GDC!
For Train Jam 2015, we have 30 students signed up via the student ambassador program (though I’m SURE we have additional students signed up outside of this program!), representing nine different schools around the world:
We think that these types of opportunities can be pivotal for both professionals as well students. It’s not often that you get to ride in a train amongst your peers, making games, with varied landscapes unfurling before you – all while traveling to the largest professional game development conference in the world.
We are so grateful to the schools who have supported their students on this journey as well as the students who reached out to attend individually.
Huge thanks to John for heading up this entire operation. He did an amazing job interfacing with the various schools, seeking out universities, managing the students, the expo passes – really, everything. Without John, this student ambassador program simply wouldn’t exist.
Finally, thanks to GDC for providing us with the means to give these students the ability to attend GDC as well as all of the other sponsors of Train Jam (displayed at the bottom of this page) who have helped this year’s Train Jam look like it will be an amazing time!