Eastern Michigan University plans to use video games to engage with students and attract new ones. The university has agreed on a multi-year partnership with Gen.G. The school hopes the agreement helps establish itself as the forerunner in the Midwest competitive gaming scene.
It will create a multi-year esports program that supports academic enrollment goals, differentiate the university in the region by connecting students and alumni to build a community on campus for gamers to compete and share their passion. EMU will also establish two major events, a high school invitational and Women in Gaming camps, for the summer.
EMU is the first university in Michigan to integrate esports and gaming into its campus life and offer students a platform to find a community within. Calvin Philips, associate vice president for Student Affairs at EMU, said, “We know how important selecting a college or university is for a student, and we want to differentiate ourselves with a meaningful opportunity and educational platform at EMU.”
Philips believes that the pandemic crisis has brought increased attention to online learning, and gaming is a natural extension to that.
The two launched the EMU + Gen.G Futures Program, a 30-day initiative on Instagram, Twitter, and Discord to highlight the success stories with current students and alumni across business, technology, gaming and athletics.
EMU has named the high school invitational as the Super Smash Brothers Tournament. The school’s esports team, Super Smash Bros, will compete against high school teams, and the tournaments will be available for live viewing on Twitch and feature direct interaction between competitors and teams over Discord.
Maxx Crosby, Eastern Michigan alum and current Las Vegas Raiders defensive end, revealed that he is a fan of what the school did.
“Gaming and football have a lot in common in terms of practicing, competing, but most of all, sharing a common experience and having fun together,” Crosby said. “It’s really cool EMU wants to help high school students elevate their game and provide a safe place for them to compete while we stay home during the pandemic.”
The Women in Gaming program is called Gamer Girls Getting It Done. They two organizations will establish an all-women seminar to attract young women who are interested in gaming and esports.
Hosted by women for women, the event will hold three separate seminars with lessons and tips from professional gamers in the industry. The seminars were entitled to register for dates on June 15-17, July 6-8, and Aug. 10-12 with a registration cost of $99. However, the dates are subject to change as the coronavirus surge.
EMU is the third major university to partner with Gen.G, joining the University of Kentucky and the University of Pennsylvania. They all launched similar ideas with the esports organization.
EMU is also a member of the Esports Collegiate Conference and Collegiate Star League, with 32 members. Their esports program hosts several competitive games like League of Legends, Overwatch, and Counterstrike: Global Offensive.
Gen.G is one of the most active esports organizations in the world. Established in 2017, the organization is ranked sixth among the most valuable esports organization globally.
It features a unique portfolio, including some of the most famous teams in multiple countries like the world’s top all-female Fortnite team in LA, NBA 2K league in Shanghai, and the overwatch and League of Legends team in Korea. Teams from the organization won seven global championships to date.
It focuses on cultural projects to help diversify esports and bring it into the mainstream. For instance, Gen.G created #TeamBubble, the leading team platform for the empowerment of women in gaming, and the Elite Esports Academy, the world’s first academic esports program.