By LOGAN COLEMAN
Colorado College is seeking to gauge student interest and opinion in creating electronic sports (e-sports) teams on campus, because the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) is currently looking to create an e-sports league. With CC’s sports teams being a part of the SCAC, the school is also considering taking part in this initiative.
With the rise of e-sports as a new competitive, spectated, and lucrative phenomenon, many colleges throughout the country are establishing varsity e-sports teams. These teams often seek to function with the same seriousness as is given to physical sports, even sometimes providing scholarships for e-sports college team recruits.
Inspired by schools like Schreiner University in Texas, which has a competitive varsity e-sports team, CC is hoping to not only potentially create an e-sports team, but also create accessibility and a community around competitive and casual gaming on campus—tabletop games included.
Perhaps the school’s biggest obstacle in gauging student interest is creating visibility for this initiative. When asked about the school’s new effort to bring e-sports to CC, junior Malcolm Gabbard said, “I didn’t know this was a thing happening on campus, but college recognition of e-sports legitimizes nonathletic competition while bringing the same benefits to individuals and communities as typical sports, and they should do it.”
Student interest is the key to this initiative being able to move forward and develop. Chad Schonewill, a CC alum and now staff member of the ITS team, said, “We thought the first step was to just gauge the interest.” He continued, “There are some who doubt that there would be enough students at CC who are interested in such a thing. I never doubted that there were enough. The more interest we can prove, the more likely it is that we will move fast and get resources.”
Along with junior Josh Lauer, founder of the C+5 Gaming Club, Schonewill is one of the leading figures in the school’s initiative to possibly bring e-sports teams and an overall greater and more accessible gaming community to campus. He expressed that some of his motivations come from his desire for the interests of more students than just those who are interested in outdoor recreation to be served.
Beyond Schonewill and the C+5 Gaming Club’s efforts to bring competitive e-sports to campus, there are also efforts to create greater accessibility and enjoyment of games for all campus members. In the newly renovated Tutt Library, there is a room fit with gaming consoles, outlets, and controllers, soon to be open to the student body, for casual gaming and a break from studying.