Esports competition fosters virtual campus community
"Game On, KSU" features competition for students
KENNESAW, Ga. (Mar 31, 2020) — Maintaining a sense of community at a time when students are otherwise miles apart has challenged universities nationwide to adapt in recent weeks. At Kennesaw State University, the solution has come in an unlikely form – video games.
Recently, Kennesaw State’s Division of Student Affairs and the Kennesaw Esports student organization launched a new competitive esports series in an effort to provide an innovative social outlet for KSU students who are participating in remote learning for the remainder of the spring semester. Titled “Game On, KSU,” the series features three video game competitions that will be played entirely online, allowing students to participate from the comfort of home. Originally conceived as an alternate spring break activity for students whose plans were impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, the series grew into a semester-long effort.
“After transitioning to remote learning, which enabled us to maintain our academic schedule, our students have earned a well-deserved spring break this week, and we wanted to provide them a fun way to engage with their peers outside of the virtual classroom," Whitten said. "Our Division of Student Affairs has gone above and beyond to bring this tournament to our students and are continuing to schedule virtual events to keep students socially active.”
Throughout the series, students will have the chance to compete against one another in League of Legends, NBA 2k20 and Rocket League. The games will be played on personal computers, Xbox or PS4 and each competition will feature a regular season and finals tournament consisting of the top 16 players at the conclusion of the regular season. Winners of each competition will receive a prize pack mailed to them at the conclusion of the tournament. “Game On, KSU” is open to all currently enrolled KSU students who have paid their recreation fee.
“‘Game On, KSU’ is yet another example of the creativity and resourcefulness the University demonstrates on a daily basis,” said Eric Arneson, vice president of student affairs. “This would not be possible without the tireless efforts of our staff and students who conceived and executed this idea, and we hope it serves as an engaging way for our students to reconnect and feel a sense of normalcy in a time of uncertainty.”
The ability to participate from anywhere make esports an easy way to stay connected with other students, said Kennesaw Esports president Norman Reid. Esports have seen a meteoritic rise in popularity in recent years, with technology consulting firm Activate predicting the industry to gain enough viewers to surpass all major U.S. professional sports leagues outside of the National Football League by 2021.
“Compared to traditional intramural sports, esports do not require contact, can easily be broadcasted to the general public and are easier to organize since it’s not necessary to play in-person,” said Reid, who first became involved with League of Legends as a middle schooler. “It was pretty cool to use my experience with esports to help set up this event. Having the community come together for this event will help fill the void of not physically seeing one another.”
Throughout the competition, a regularly updated leaderboard and rules will be available at gameonksu.kennesaw.edu. Select matches in each competition will be streamed publicly at Kennesaw Esports’ Twitch channel.
Spring Games and Seasons:
- League of Legends (1v1), Regular Season 3/30/20 - 4/5/20, Finals start 4/6/20
- NBA 2k20 (1v1, Xbox and PS4), Regular Season 4/13/20 - 4/19/20, Finals start 4/20/20
- Rocket League (2v2), Regular Season 4/13/20 - 4/19/20, Finals start 4/20/20
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.