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E-sports added to Earlham’s slate of club teams

February 22, 2019

The latest club sport available to Earlham College students won’t be played on a grassy field or a hardwood court.

These students will be competing on couches in front of television screens and computer monitors.

E-sports, or competitive video gaming, has become the College’s 10th approved club sport.E-sports, or competitive video gaming, has become the College’s 10th approved club sport. Other non-sanctioned intercollegiate sports currently being offered at Earlham include ultimate frisbee, men’s and women’s rugby, fencing, volleyball, badminton, Aikido, equestrian and table tennis.

“We had 130 students show up to our launch event,” says Ally Latham ’21,  co-convener of the club. “The gaming community on this campus is very large, even bigger than I realized. 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 the necessary resources to be successful.

Located in a former basement lounge at Runyan Center, the E-sports club offers a variety of new gaming PCs, consoles, television screens and furniture to support gaming competitions and other activities. Popular games supported by the club include Fortnite, Apex Legends, League of Legends, FIFA, and Team Fortress 2.

“This isn’t just another a computer lab or a student lounge,” says Jason Fleenor, Earlham’s director of club and recreational sports. “This is a dedicated space for students to practice and prepare for future competitions while also providing space for students who have not played certain games but are interested and want to learn.

“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 says. “We also plan to support important conversations about gaming culture and how certain content can be in conflict with Earlham’s Quaker Principles and Practices. We want to be inclusive. There will be something for everyone.”

Logistics regarding competition are still being worked out, Fleenor says.

“There is no right or wrong way to do this, but we want to be prepared so that this club can be successful,” Fleenor explains. “Every school does this differently. In fact, there’s nothing saying that a smaller school like us can’t compete against a larger school. Anyone can beat anyone.”

Students can expect more information about participating in E-sports later this spring.

“E-sports is just another example of our commitment to creating inclusive spaces that add energy and excitement to the overall student experience,” says Hagi Bradley, vice president for student life and dean of students. “We’re thrilled by the initial response from students and look forward to supporting them in the future.”

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Earlham College, a national liberal arts college located in Richmond, Indiana, is a "College That Changes Lives." We expect our students to be fully present: to think rigorously, value directness and genuineness, and actively seek insights from differing perspectives. The values we practice at Earlham are rooted in centuries of Quaker tradition, but they also constitute the ideal toolkit for contemporary success. We rank 7th nationally by Princeton Review for Best Classroom Experience and 22nd by U.S. News and World Report for commitment to undergraduate teaching.

Brian Zimmerman is director of media relations at Earlham College. He can be reached at 765-983-1256 and zimmebr@earlham.edu.


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