The esports phenomenon is spreading like wildfire, and colleges and universities all over the world are not immune to it. In fact, some have learned to embrace it.
If you’re a prospective student, preferably hailing from Georgia, you’ll certainly like these news. The local Georgia State University has launched an esports program for its students.
No, it doesn’t include courses on ‘Denying 101’ or ‘Quickscoping 720’, as you might have secretly wished. Instead, the university has opted to join the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE) which already comprises 33 university esports teams from all over America.
This means that GSU students will be able to take part in the esports competitions set to begin this September, the official statement reads.
The University is also launching the Georgia Esports League (GEL) in cooperation with other Georgia Universities. It, too, will begin this September. The league will see students from Georgia Institute of Technology, Kennesaw State University and the University of North Georgia, among others, face off in Paladins and Brawlhalla.
Along with membership in leagues, students will have opportunities to partake in production, broadcasting and organisation of esports tournaments.
David Cheshier, director of the Georgia State Creative Media Industries Institute, stressed the importance of esports for the overall development of an educated student in this day and age: “The skills developed by eSports-interested students are the very skills most needed for success in the 21st century economy, including collaborative soft skills and computer coding”.
Andrew Greenberg, president of the Georgia Game Developers Association went on further to claim that there is a link between esports and academic achievement, and praised the GSU for recognising that.
The University sees participation in esports as key towards ensuring competences in communication, leadership, organisational skills, as well as in animation, 3D and coding.
The GSU will provide tournament and practice venues. HOPE Scholarships are also being prepared. The Georgia Esports league will also provide scholarships to winners.
If you’re a student or plan to enrol, don’t wait for too long. The orientation and qualifications are set to begin soon, with League of Legends and Smite competition being first on the list.
These sports programs are still in their infancy, and will likely trail the more established sports in funding and organisational allowances for quite a while. But it’s a huge leap forward that we are eager to see happen in every university in the country.
And it certainly will – the ever-growing popularity of esports is bound to capture everyone’s attention. Even if it doesn’t, the students will certainly push to organise something themselves.
Georgia State University has obviously recognized the importance of esports – not only is esports a lot of fun, but it could also push students towards IT and STEM fields that are sorely lacking in man- (and woman-) power.