AU teaming up with NeverEnding for use of Ashland-themed avatars

ASHLAND, Ohio – Ashland University has entered into a first-of-its-kind agreement with NeverEnding, an innovative social sharing and storytelling platform, that will provide custom Ashland-themed avatars for the school’s esports teams as well as access to the company’s avatar creator for up to one year for 6,000 of Ashland’s students, faculty and staff. Thousands of individual gamers and storytellers are NeverEnding customers and now Ashland will be its inaugural partner organization.

NeverEnding’s easy-to-use avatar creator allows its community members the use of art and animation tools to build digital representations of themselves or completely fantastical images, which can then be shared in a variety of ways. Many users choose to import their creation into profile pictures for social media accounts and others share them throughout their personal digital universe.

The Ashland-themed avatar creator will offer options for facial features, hairstyles and different body and skin types. An assortment of purple and gold t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, laser armor and headsets are available, and a Tuffy the Eagle head can be placed atop the character. Special characters inspired by popular video games are also being created to represent Ashland University esports team members.

“We believe our partnership with NeverEnding will provide our students with a unique opportunity to connect in the digital world. With COVID challenging face-to-face interactions, virtual platforms like this are sure to be more popular,” said Dr. Carlos Campo, president of Ashland University. “Partnering with an organization led by one of our former students is an added benefit, and we look forward to finding additional ways to expand this relationship in the future.”

Avatars, once solely associated with gaming, have seen a steady rise in popularity across multiple platforms. They provide users opportunity to showcase their individualism, serving as a fun way to express or represent oneself with a digitized persona while also protecting their on-line privacy. Some use them to explore different looks, free of judgment, or as a way to communicate an idea or reveal an identity. The possibilities are seemingly unlimited, especially with the use of a character-building platform, such as NeverEnding.

NeverEnding was founded by Jamie Van Doren, who attended Ashland in the early 1990s. He worked in a variety of marketing positions in the Cleveland area before becoming an entrepreneur and exploring his passion for unique storytelling. Today, he leads a growing team of programmers, designers and artists that empower users to create their own illustrations and videos.

“We're excited for the opportunity to partner with Ashland University and provide a new, fun way to show off school spirit,” remarked Van Doren. “Esports is such an important growth area and we think this partnership is a fantastic way for the Ashland team to establish a powerful, individual, and innovative brand. These athletes work hard and we’re excited to help them and the rest of the campus community shine in their own individual way.”

Ashland University is a mid-sized, private university conveniently located a short distance from Akron, Cleveland, and Columbus, Ohio. Ashland University (www.ashland.edu) values the individual student and offers a unique educational experience that combines the challenge of strong applied academic programs with a faculty and staff who build nurturing relationships with their students.