When Andy Weng, ’19, arrived on campus this past fall to begin his freshman year, he envisioned starting up a competitive gaming club that could bring students together by creating relationships through a common passion for video gaming.
“Gaming was an integral part of my childhood,” he said.
The club — eSports, or electronic sports, which is a common term for competitive gaming clubs at universities all across the country — is waiting for Student Senate to give it approval to move forward with the project. The purpose of this club is to bring together different people who participate in gaming. Specifically, Weng plans to include the Super Smash Bros. club, League of Legends, Dota 2 and Hearthstone.
Within the last two years or so, eSports have gained tremendous popularity around the globe. Weng reached out to a few friends he met through gaming, offering them possible positions on the executive board for the club.
For each game, Weng had to select a chair to represent that specific division. For example, the League of Legends chair is Brian Shultz, Super Smash Bros. chair is Noah Michaeli, ’16, Dota 2 chair is Ken Grenestedt, ’14, and Hearthstone chair is Brady Link, ’19. Previously, there was a League of Legends club on campus, but it quickly died out. Weng believes that by creating an eSports club, each game can help sustain one another.
“A long-term goal for this project is to create a campus culture around eSports,” Weng said.
To put it into perspective, Weng described how popular some of these games are becoming. This past fall, a Dota 2 gaming tournament which took place in Seattle had an $18 million prize for the winning team. In the game, two teams of five compete against each other using communication and strategy to eliminate the opposing team.
Link views the club as a potential opportunity for gamers all across campus to interact with one another. Hearthstone itself is a single-player card game that is turn-based. Link heard about it on the Internet and began playing a couple years ago with some friends from home. Link and Weng met each other this past fall.
“We were in the same orientation group,” Link said. “We became friends and bonded through video games. (Weng) had plans last semester and asked me if I wanted to help get involved.”
About three weeks ago, Weng posted a on Facebook to see how many people would be interested in joining the club if Student Senate gives its approval. The group anticipates that more students will reach out if it becomes official. Weng and his executive board plan to advertise on campus by putting flyers in public areas to gain exposure.
Danny Moncada, ’19, has been a member of the club affairs committee on Senate since the beginning of this academic year, he said. To be recognized by Senate, founders have to explain and justify how their club would use the money for if Senate approves. Most of the time, if Senate feels the club will have a good representation on campus, or attract many students, it will give its approval.
“These potential clubs pitch their ideas and what they plan to do,” Moncada said. “They have to help us understand how productive they think it’s going to be.”
Weng and his potential executive board members presented their plan of action to the Student Senate on Thursday. They are focused on getting approved so they can begin recruiting members.
“Right now,” Wend said, “we want to increase our potential numbers by the end of the semester.”