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Students sitting at PCs in UNCG's esports arena

UNC Greensboro officially opened a state-of-the-art esports arena with the latest technology, equipment, and gaming resources on April 25. 

The new facility will be open 12 hours a day, seven days a week, and will offer students 90 hours of free gaming a month. Centrally located in Moran Commons, the venue features 3,300 square feet of space; 48 PCs, 12 of which are on a “competition platform” where our games can be live-streamed; three gaming console bays; new RESPAWN chairs; and an Oculus Rift VR headset; all for everyday play and tournaments. 

UNCG Board of Trustees President Betsy Oakley provided opening remarks, capturing the excitement of the day. “We know our UNCG Gaming and Esports Club, and the many members who are here today, are so excited to have this innovative new home for competition and practice. As gaming grows as a hobby and as an industry, I know that this amenity – and the academic programming to follow – will be the deciding factor for many future students as they choose to enroll at UNCG.”

“This is a day to celebrate,” said Chancellor Gilliam. “The future starts here, on this campus, with the opening of a state-of-the-art esports arena. With this unique facility, staff, and programs, we are ensuring our students are well-equipped to participate and lead this multi-billion dollar industry. I want to personally thank Representative Jason Saine for his advocacy on behalf of this important initiative for our University and our students. We would not be here today without his leadership.”

Thanks to NC State House of Representatives’ Jason Saine (R-Lincolnton), Senior Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, UNCG received $ 2.4 million in the state budget for “the operating, equipment, technology, marketing and programming costs associated with establishing an esports facility on the campus.”

“I know what this could mean for this university and for our entire state, and I’m excited for students on campus to get even more engaged with esports,” said Representative Saine.

According to UNCG student and Gaming and Esports Club President Sophia Priest, the arena is “a dream come true for students like me and my fellow gaming club members.” 

“I’ve heard my peers for years talk about how they wanted a place like this on campus, and we’re so glad that it’s happening,” said Priest. “With the implementation of this space, I know that UNCG is well on its way to becoming a powerhouse in collegiate esports.” 

And this initiative brings UNCG one step closer to being solidified as a powerhouse indeed, thanks to philanthropist, UNCG Light the Way Campaign co-chair, and former UNCG Board of Trustees Chair Randall Kaplan, who announced the endowment of the Randall R. Kaplan Distinguished Professorship in Innovation. The Professorship will be awarded to a faculty member leading work in a cutting-edge field of study, positioning UNCG students for successful careers in emerging, in-demand fields. For details on his gift, visit lighttheway.uncg.edu.

For more on esports at UNCG, visit esports.uncg.edu.

(L to R) UNCG Board of Trustees Chair Betsy Oakley, Division President at Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services Nelson Defigueiredo, Representative Jason Saine, Gaming and Esports Club President Sophia Priest, Chancellor Gilliam, and Former UNCG Board of Trustees chair and Current Light the Way: The Campaign for Earned Achievement Co-chair Randall Kaplan
(L to R) UNCG Board of Trustees Chair Betsy Oakley, Division President at Chartwells Higher Education Dining Services Nelson Defigueiredo, Representative Jason Saine (R-Lincolnton), Gaming and Esports Club President Sophia Priest, Chancellor Gilliam, and Former UNCG Board of Trustees Chair and Current Light the Way: The Campaign for Earned Achievement Co-chair Randall Kaplan
Chancellor Gilliam poses with Mike Rufail ’05, founder and chief gaming officer of Dallas-based Envy Gaming, Inc., one of the largest esports groups in the world. Read more.

Story by Eden Bloss, University Communications
Photography by Martin W. Kane, University Communications

 
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