The Durham College Esports Club has successfully transitioned from on-campus to fully online events.
Since the closure of the college in March because of COVID-19, students and executive members of the Esports Club have not had access to the Esports Arena on campus to hold their regular club events, therefore the transition to online was necessary.
Alex Estrela, 27, a student in the Business Management Graduate Certificate program, is president of the Eports club.
“We have actually increased the number of events we run on both a weekly and monthly basis,” Estrela says, adding, “we found that students want to be engaged and to participate since the regular social interaction they would experience during a normal school year is not present due to the campus being closed.”
The club started in October, 2019.
“Currently there are over 150 students on the mailing list and over 700 in the discord server, (a popular gaming communications app)” he says.
Esports Arena manager, Sarah Wagg, says “the Esports Club has had a great impact at Durham College, not only is it the largest club on campus but it is the most active.”
It provides a sense of community and social environment for all gamers on campus to meet like-minded individuals and enjoy both casual and competitive gameplay, she says.
“During these very strange COVID-19 times, it’s also a great stress relief for many people,” Wagg adds.
Despite the pandemic, the EsportsClub still holds similar events as it would have last year with the exception of being completely online and not being able to utilize the Esports arena that would have had available to them.
“We are happy to have a great relationship and support from the Durham College Esports arena staff and manager, Sarah Wagg, who have allowed us to utilize their discord server in order to host free online events for students,” Estrela says.
The arena supports the club from leveraging their sponsorships to helping support the club’s initiatives, as well as providing the club access to the esports social media channels for marketing.
The club also uses the Esports Arena’s Twitch channel to stream their original content, and when the arena becomes open again, Wagg says “we’re happy to have them use it to run in-person events.”
Estrela says a majority of the games are free to play – meaning you don’t need a video game station. Most of the games selected to play for club events can be downloaded via an app or are available on a website for free to play.
Since transitioning to online events the club has created official social media accounts and is very active online so students are updated on events and announcements, Estrela says.
“We are always open to suggestions if students would like to see us run a certain event or play a certain game,” he says.
The club has already given out gift cards and a Nintendo Switch Lite console.
The club has expanded from running game nights to also running movie nights and viewing parties for bigger events in the gaming world, which include the upcoming console giveaway and other prize reveals.
“Durham College Students Inc. (DCSI) has been extremely supportive of our events and do all they can to help our events be successful – by helping promote club events on social media and providing prizing for students who participate in our events,” Estrela says.
The club submits an application to DCSI for funding. When students were on campus last year, this funding was used for covering refreshments and snacks for people attending club events, whereas now that funding is used to help with prizes.
“Since Esports is a gaming centred club – the new generation of consoles being the PlayStation5 and Xbox series X just came out, so we want to allow an opportunity for one Durham College student to win one of these consoles.”
The club’s current contest giveaway is aimed to raise awareness of the club.
Estrela says details about the Esports Club, events, and the contest for the console giveaway are available on the DCSI club and events website.