Eastern Michigan University esports announced a major partnership on Wednesday morning, a move the program hopes will help establish itself as a pioneer in the Midwest competitive gaming scene.
Gen.G, one of the most active esports organiations worldwide, will partner with EMU on multiple diversity initiatives, starting immediately, including the establishment of a futures program, collaborations with local high schools for events, and the establishment of a women’s outreach camp.
The multi-year partnership will “support fall 2020 academic enrollment goals and differentiate the university in the region,” while also “connect[ing] enrolled students, faculty and alumni, to build a community on campus for gamers to compete and share their passion.”
“We’re proud to be the first in Michigan to truly integrate esports and gaming into our campus life and offer our students a platform to find a community here,” Calvin Phillips, associate vice president for Student Affairs at Eastern Michigan University, said via press release. “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.”
Gen.G, established in 2017, is already the sixth-most valuable esports organization globally, with a portfolio including some of the most famous esports teams in the United States, Korea and China. Gen.G has been working on many cultural projects over the last few years to help diversify esports and bring it into the mainstream, including #TeamBumble, the leading team platform for the empowerment of women in gaming and Gen.G Elite Esports Academy, the world’s first fully-integrated academic esports program.
Starting this afternoon, EMU will launch a 30-day initiative on Twitter, Instagram and Discord to discuss success stories with current students and alumni across business, technology, gaming and athletics.
EMU’s high school outreach initiative will be a cooperative one, with EMU’s Smash Club (a club-level Super Smash Bros. Ultimate team) hosting competitive Smash events with esports teams from local high schools. Held in June and July, the tournaments will be available for live viewing on Twitch, and will feature direct interaction between competitiors and teams over Discord.
“It’s so incredibly exciting to see my alma mater recognize the power of gaming and esports with today’s students,” said Zach Wigal, founder of Gamers Outreach Foundation, a charity which provides equipment, technology, and software to help kids cope with treatment inside hospitals. “We’ve seen first-hand through our philanthropic mission how much our gaming community, especially students, wants to connect with one another. I can’t wait to see our Eagles rally around this program.”
Another fan of the initative is former Eastern Michigan alum and current Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby.
“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 via press release. “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.”
Perhaps the most intriguing part of the partnership is the establishment of an all-women’s seminar meant to attract interest in esports for young women. EMU will hold three separate three-day seminars, hosted by women for women, with lessons and tips from top professional gamers and women in the industry, as well as insights on producing esports events. The seminar, entitled “Gamer Girls Getting It Done,” will register for dates on June 15-17, July 6-8 and August 10-12, with a registration cost of $99,
“Gen.G continues its commitment to promote education as a viable place to take esports and gaming to the next level to connect their communities,” Jordan Sherman, head of revenue operations for Gen.G, said via press release. “We’re honored to have Eastern Michigan join the University of Kentucky and University of Pennsylvania within our family to provide competition, curriculum and connections.”
EMU is currently a member of the Esports Collegiate Conference and Collegiate Star League, with an active membership of 32 competitors. Their esports program hosts several competitive teams, including teams for League of Legends, Overwatch, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and Counterstrike: Global Offensive.
EMU esports can be followed on Twitter at @esports_EMU, on Twitch at twitch.tv/EMU_esports, and Facebook at facebook.com/EMUesports. EMU Smash Club can be found on Twitter at @EMUSmashBros and on Twitch at twitch.tv/EMUSC.
The EMU + Gen.G Futures Program is kicking off today our 30-day social media relay on Instagram and Twitter highlighting student success stories with current students and alumni across business, technology, gaming and athletics. We want to hear from you: https://t.co/SnSP6PE9xC pic.twitter.com/HrhLjYbRQA— Eastern Michigan (@EasternMichU) May 20, 2020