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Campus eSports club plugs students into gaming communities | News

A registered student organization centered on video games has respawned at the University of Memphis, prompting players of all kinds to grab a controller and connect.

U of M Esports is the latest gaming RSO looking to attract all types of students for fun-filled, casual get-togethers. Ian Goforth, the club president and a competitive gamer, said he plays far less than he used to and has now shifted his focus to uniting people on campus.

“I don’t think it’s as much enjoying these games as it is we want to see a good community grow on the U of M campus,” Goforth said. “I love bringing people together and getting people involved in something that I’ve enjoyed for a long time.”

Electronic sports, or eSports, are competitive video games generally played with multiple players. As it is an international phenomenon, eSports are often taken to the professional level with tournaments occurring in large stadiums around the world and highly skilled players earning actual money by joining organized leagues.

U of M Esports began when Goforth transferred from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and discovered the former campus video game club, the Memphis eSports and Gaming Association (MEGA). Goforth said many people fell off from MEGA due to the club’s inconsistency, so he implemented ideas from his past eSports club at his previous university to revamp the organization.

“One of our most important goals is building up our leadership team, which is very important because this organization is not going to die with me,” Goforth said. “It’s going to live on.”

While seeking out new leadership is one of Goforth’s top missions, another objective for the RSO is creating comfortable gaming communities for both competitive players and casual gamers. Benjamin Phan, U of M Esports’ event management scheduler, said the club creates a “social space,” where all types of gamers can feel at home with others who share their interests.

“Games are supposed to be fun,” Phan said. “They’re not always competitive. There will always be people that come to the club and find a game that they like, and that game will just grow with them as in they’re going to practice more, they’re going to love it more because there’s more people that are playing the game in their local area.”

Freshman computer science major Jeremy Becton said U of M Esports connected him to players of the same games he likes, which he said helps make him a better gamer overall.

“After joining for a few days, I realized this was a good opportunity to get into a community of people who are like me,” Becton said. “This is definitely going to promote a lot of advancements in my techniques of gaming, especially team building.”

Courtney Bynum, a nursing major at the U of M, said she loves being in U of M Esports because her passion is playing video games, especially with others. Bynum said talented people have joined already, so she’s looking forward to when the club is large enough to have tournaments.

“It’s very new, and it’s growing,” Bynum said. “[Goforth] has so much passion every week that we meet. I personally am looking forward to when the club has more members.”

More information about U of M Esports and how to join the organization can be found on Tiger Zone.

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