DUBOIS – During the last academic year, Penn State DuBois saw the creation of its own esports club, with a goal of bringing students together through a passion they share, gaming. Although this club is a newcomer to the campus, the excitement of esports and its recent rapid rise to prominence throughout the world, Penn State DuBois has taken a big step forward towards making esports a staple on campus.
Last March, the esports club launched its very first weekly event with the debut of game night on campus. Game night, a weekly gathering for club members and students alike, gave everyone a chance to come together in a central location on campus to play video games with one another. At that time, the club used the gaming lounge in the PAW Center for their weekly activity. While this space was more than adequate for the club and for game night, Jason Long, assistant teaching professor of information sciences and technology (IST) and esports club advisor, recognized that he and club members would be able to do so much more if they had a dedicated space that they could call their own.
“To have a proper area for esports, it takes so much more than a few televisions,” Long said. “Obviously, esports today is so much more than console gaming. Today, computer gaming is probably the most prevalent form of gaming, and, with that, you are talking about a larger amount of equipment needed. And with more equipment, you need more space.”
With this in mind, Long and the esports club received permission to utilize a room in the DEF building on campus and they have begun working on building their ultimate goal, an esports arena.
“When you watch an esports broadcast on television or online, you don’t simply see teams sitting in a room playing a game,” Long said. “They are in an arena style setting with lights, effects, everything. Ultimately, something like that is what we hope to create here on campus.”
Since the summer DEF 103, a room on the wing that houses the IT program at Penn State DuBois, has seen much transformation as the beginning steps of turning the room into the home of esports on campus. For now, as the room develops, the esports club has a space where they can meet, play games, develop their skills in those games and develop friendships that will last long after the club members move on.
While this is a dedicated space for the esports club, there has been much more than just that club involved in this project. Long specifically noted that the IT club at Penn State DuBois has been instrumental with helping to repurpose computers to turn them into gaming capable devices, as well as allowing the club to use many of their gaming consoles when needed. The IT club has many of these consoles on hand for usage during their Video Game Day event that happens on campus each year.
“Ultimately, this is another grand vision to help make our campus more unique and inclusive,” Jungwoo Ryoo, chancellor and chief academic officer, said. “The esports room is a great asset that helps video game loving students develop a greater sense of belonging while they are here at Penn State DuBois. And we really feel that the sky is the limit for esports here.”
Presently, the esports club at Penn State DuBois is a student organization. However, one of the hopeful long-term goals is to see the club expand into an esports team that could possibly become an intercollegiate competitive team, like the athletic teams the campus already has. If that goal is achieved, having the space already set up for the team to practice in will be a great asset.
“As we continue to make improvements to our esports room, I would really like to see us be able to expand our capabilities to be able to host events such as community tournaments and even intercollegiate tournaments,” Long said. “Our hope is to have continued development for both the esports club and for the esports room.”
Long noted that one of the challenges the group faces is the ever changing, ever advancing technology sector. Today, computer components and gaming equipment are continuing to be made to perform better and more efficiently. Modern games are always looking to take advantage of those advances, meaning a gaming set up must be constantly updating as well.
“We know it won’t be easy, but we are going to do everything we can to keep up and keep our equipment up to date with modern trends,” Long said. “Budgetary constraints will always present challenges, but I believe we have a plan in place to help us through.”
The new esports room has been in use since the start of the fall semester and events are currently being planned out to utilize the room to the fullest.
Long recently joined Ryoo to discuss the esports room and esports at Penn State DuBois during an episode of The Chancellor’s Chat podcast. You can find links to where the podcast is available here.
Many clubs and organizations at Penn State DuBois are assisted in achieving their goals by contributions from the community. The impact that every gift makes cannot be overstated.
“The Penn State DuBois community is amazing,” Ryoo said. “The support we receive, both from an educational resource perspective and from a community involvement perspective, is what makes our town feel like home in so many ways.”
If you or your organization are interested in helping advance the esports club and esports room at Penn State DuBois, contact Director of Development Jean Wolf at 814-372-3038 or email@example.com.