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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Proposal may allow Western to officially compete in Esports


Western’s various video game clubs may “level-up” and become a single organization which will facilitate competitions against other colleges.

Senior Michael Lee, a business administration major, submitted an application on Jan. 30 to the Associated Students to form “WWU Gamer Association.”

If the Western association is approved, it would allow the Texas Esports Association to start a chapter with Western. The Texas Esports Association is a nationwide organization that works with colleges to promote gaming and host esports events.

Currently, Western does not have an overarching organization for all gaming clubs.

Lee had been working with the association, which notified him they are unable to work with Western until an AS club is formed unifying all the gaming clubs.

Lee said  Western’s gaming association has to be an inclusive club. It has to be about community gaming and paneling events. Lee reached out to other clubs on campus such as chess, cribbage, live-action role playing games, card games and traditional video games.

The mission statement for Western’s association is creating a stronger community for gamers.

“[We will be] Strengthening the bonds between the gaming clubs and empowering ourselves so we can create opportunities for others.”
Michael Lee

The clubs that have agreed to join Western’s gaming association are Overwatch, League of Legends, Fighting Game Club, Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering.

Admissions counselor Brian Swanson said having all the clubs under one umbrella could make it easier for students to get connected with their interest.

“I think it can be beneficial,” Swanson said. “Whether you’re talking about building a large community of students or building a group of students who have bargaining power with the AS.”

Lee said Swanson is a huge asset because he can provide advice to new leaders who would be joining and has expertise in event and program coordination.

If Western’s association becomes official, Lee said he will host an open, year-end event so students can play games and see what each club has to offer.

“Member recruitment and engagement is probably one of the biggest things clubs find hard to do,” Lee said. “Especially with gaming clubs since it’s easier to play at home [rather]  than coming to campus.”

For the gaming clubs to be part of the organization, club leaders would meet once a month and talk about what’s needed from the association and to discuss what can be done to improve or help smaller clubs, Lee said.

“Having an open line of communication is essential for the gaming association to work,” Lee said.

Freshmen Rhain Zipeto is a co-captain of the Overwatch club and said being part of the organization means it would be easily recognized by other schools as opposed to being a random team.

Rhain said he’s looking forward to the esports scene.

“I’m excited to see where we can go with esports,”  Zipeto said. “We started out with six people, now we’ve got the other gaming clubs coming together to make this organization.”



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