BANGOR – Husson University will be celebrating the official opening of their new esports facility with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Jan. 20 at 2 p.m. in the Darling Learning Center in rooms DLC 122 and 123. Students, faculty and staff will all be in attendance. A demonstration of the facility’s capabilities will take place after the ribbon-cutting ceremony has been completed.
“Esports are an exciting new addition to the world of intercollegiate competition where players compete using video games,” said Dr. Lynne Coy-Ogan, Husson University’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “These competitions can include team-oriented multiplayer games as well as single player contests. Game genres include virtual reconstructions of physical sports, survival battle royales, and real-time strategy. These esports competitions take place primarily over the internet, but there will be additional opportunities for our students to compete in person.”
Husson will be competing against other colleges and universities in North America, including the U.S. and Canada, during the spring semester. The University’s first intercollegiate matchup will take place on Saturday, Jan. 22 at 3 p.m. when Husson’s “League of Legends” varsity team competes online against the University of Toronto.
The University invested approximately $170,000 to renovate Room 122 in the Darling Learning Center and purchase the necessary equipment so it could serve as Husson University’s new Esports Center. This Center is where Husson students will be able to access the technology they’ll need to practice and compete.
“This new Center will be a great way to introduce students to possible career paths in interactive gaming,” continued Coy-Ogan. “Education here at Husson University that would support opportunities in this growing industry include our integrated technology and sport management programs.”
Esports provides students with the opportunity to sharpen their communication abilities as they work together in teams to win competitive matches. Participating on these teams requires critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, and creativity.
In addition, esports enable students to develop STEM skills since there is so much technology associated with the process. Husson’s esports team members will need to analyze statistical game data and adopt strategies that reflect their findings.
“At Husson, we see this esports initiative as another way we can help ensure students are job ready after graduation,” said Joel Madru, Husson University’s esports coordinator. “This activity will provide valuable teamwork experiences where students can both succeed and learn from challenges.”
Students who are members of Husson University’s esports teams agree. “Participating in esports requires important skills like communication, delegation, trusting your fellow team member, and adaptive thinking when initial strategies need to be altered to fit the rapidly changing nature of an “Overwatch” match. All of these skills will be put to good use when I work in a pharmacy with fellow employees in a healthcare environment,” said Maddy Gervais, a student pursuing a doctor of pharmacy degree at the University. In addition to her studies, she is looking forward to serving her peers as co-captain of Husson’s varsity “Overwatch” team.
“Besides that, this new esports facility is going to be a great way to de-stress and re-center,” continued Gervais. “Studying pharmacy is an intensive endeavor. Sometimes a little “Overwatch” is just what the doctor ordered.”
Husson University has joined two conferences that offer intercollegiate esports competition. They are the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) and Collegiate League of Legends.
Esports are already popular with the public and are gaining momentum every day. In 2021, participation in esports increased by over 69 percent compared to the prior year. And according to Newzoo’s Global Esports and Live Streaming Market Report, over 662 million people watched live game content during 2020. Last November the finals of the “League of Legends” World Championship in Reykjavik, Iceland accrued an audience of 73 million peak viewers as reported by Riot Games and their analytics partner, Stream Hatchet.
Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, there will be a brief esports competition between some of Husson’s faculty and staff. Each faculty and staff team will be assigned a varsity “Rocket League” player to help them out during the match. Following this competition, there will be an open house where everyone present will get the opportunity to enjoy a hands-on gaming experience in the new space.
Madru expects that this first year of competition will provide some valuable learning lessons. “Despite that, I have confidence in our students, confidence in our technology and confidence that we are on the path to success, he said. “This new facility will give Husson students the technology they need to meet other colleges and universities on the virtual fields of battle and, with some hard work, return victorious.”
“It’s an exciting time to be on the ground floor of a sporting revolution,” concluded Madru. “Husson is demonstrating its leadership, once again, by creating this facility.”
For more than 120 years, Husson University has shown its adaptability and strength in delivering educational programs that prepare future leaders to handle the challenges of tomorrow through innovative undergraduate and graduate degrees. With a commitment to delivering affordable classroom, online and experiential learning opportunities, Husson University has come to represent a superior value in higher education. The hallmarks of a Husson education include advanced knowledge delivered through quality educational programs in business; health and education; pharmacy studies; science and humanities; as well as communication. According to a recent analysis of tuition and fees by U.S. News & World Report, Husson University is one of the most affordable private colleges in New England. For more information about educational opportunities that can lead to personal and professional success, visit Husson.edu.