The latest club sport available to Earlham College students won’t be played on a grassy field or a hardwood court.
It will be played in front of television screens and computer monitors.
E-sports, or competitive video gaming, has become the College’s ninth approved club sport. Other non-sanctioned intercollegiate sports currently being offered include ultimate frisbee, men’s and women’s rugby, fencing, volleyball, badminton, equestrian, Aikido, and table tennis.
“We had 130 students show up to our launch event,” said Ally Lantham, an East Asian Studies and Peace Global Studies double-major who is a co-convener of club. “I think the gaming community on this campus is very large, even bigger than I realized, especially for a campus of our size. Because gamers often play or compete from the comfort of their rooms you don’t always see that interaction that e-sports offers. This club has brought that energy into a communal space which I think is so important.”
With funding from the Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and additional support from Student Life, Facilities, Public Safety and Information Technology Services, the E-sports club has a dedicated space in the basement of Runyan Center. A variety of new gaming PCs, consoles, television screens and furniture have been purchased for club activities. Popular games supported by the Club include Fortnite, Apex Legends, League of Legends, FIFA, and Team Fortress 2, among other popular games.
“This isn’t just another a computer lab or a student lounge,” said Jason Fleenor, Earlham’s director of club and recreational sports. “This is a dedicated space for students to practice and prepare for future competitions. Students who have not played certain games, but are interested and want to learn are welcome as well.
“For students not interested in competition, we plan to offer open gaming nights so students can still participate in the club and hang out with their friends,” he said. “We also plan to support important conversations about gaming culture, and how certain content in games can be in conflict with our Quaker Principles and Practices as an institution. There will be something for everyone.”
Click here to learn more about esports and other club sports at Earlham.