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Buena Vista University adds esports

May 07, 2020 11:31am

Buena Vista University has added esports to its roster of competitive teams and programs and has begun constructing an E-Sports Arena in the Harold Walter Siebens Forum.


“It’s very exciting to be able to start an esports program at BVU,” says Trevor Berneking, BVU Director of Esports and Intramurals, who aims to direct the multiplayer video gaming activity on a club level for the first year while building it to become another competitive enterprise for the Beavers. “I’m grateful for this opportunity and can’t wait to see what our students can do in an area that continues to rise in interest.”


BVU staff members surveyed members of the student body last fall and received 200 responses as students disclosed what games they currently play, and at what levels. The Animae Gaming Society, an organization that met weekly on campus to play a variety of games, helped develop a Mario Kart league in February for 12 students, an activity that showcased how students could field a competitive team for BVU.


“We plan to spend time recruiting in our first year while having a limited playing schedule,” says Kevin McIntyre, BVU Vice President of Enrollment Management. “We’ll expand upon that foundation in our second year. We know that this is a place of high interest among our students.”


BVU, which is putting tables, chairs, headsets, and other gaming equipment in place in Siebens Forum Room 7B, a space to be called the Esports Arena, will base its program model on the National Association of Collegiate Esports.


“We know what we must do for streaming services, and for broadcasting,” says Berneking, who notes that esports participants often maintain an interest in other sports on campus.


“As we build the program, we’ll learn about the specific games our players may be experts in, whether it’s League of Legends, Fortnite, Rocket League, etc.,” Berneking continues. “The trends are showing us that the program will be a good fit for our students, another activity to keep them engaged and practicing, learning as they develop friendships and the skills they need to be good teammates and problem solvers.”


“Starting competitive esports at BVU is very exciting,” says Conner Brown, a sophomore computer science major from Bellevue, Neb., and an avid gamer who is also a member of the baseball team. “We have a social group on an app called Discord and there are 40 people who have expressed interest in playing competitively. And while it’s exciting, it’s also a big responsibility. We want to see where we can take this.”