St. Cloud State Esports continues to expand through academic programming and venues used for education, gaming and events on campus, and the next step in that process occurred April 3 with the official launch of the new Huskies Esports Arena in the Atwood Memorial Center.
SCSU students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community celebrated the opening of the new Huskies Esports Arena located in the lower level of Atwood. President Robbyn Wacker, Vice President for Technology Strategy & CIO Phil Thorson, Director of Esports Chase Neukam and faculty, staff and students made remarks during the ceremony discussing the Community, Competition and Careers aspects of SCSU Esports, all the opportunities available to students and strategies being implemented to grow esports on campus now and moving forward.
“This is an important moment for St. Cloud State University,” President Wacker said. “St. Cloud State is in fact unique in the state of Minnesota in how we are approaching esports. As a University, we want to make sure students have the opportunity to find careers in esports, and there are a lot of opportunities.
“How about this venue, isn’t it great? It really is an example of how this University wants to serve students and meet the career aspirations of our students. We know this is a value to our students and our campus community, and we’re really happy with this venue.”
The event featured live Rocket League matches, organizations involved with esports engaging with those interested in the emerging field, prizes given out to attendees and more. It also provided an opportunity to learn more about the growing esports initiative at SCSU, connect with other esports communities and check out the new arena that will enhance SCSU’s ability to host events, immersion camps and experiential learning opportunities.
“We are brimming with excitement to finally announce our plans to grow esports on campus, in our local St. Cloud community and in Central Minnesota as a whole,” Neukam said. “We encourage any interested students to reach out to us for opportunities to be involved with esports.”
SCSU continues to set itself apart from others by collaborating with students to build a unique, distinguished and inclusive esports program. The growing esports industry requires a broad range of skills and passion not limited to video gaming. Like traditional sports, esports also demands talent in team management, event planning, structure, governance, production, marketing and beyond. Professionals skilled in the industry who can manage, plan and promote esports tournaments are needed, and SCSU is ready to teach students to be leaders in this evolving industry through innovative approaches and programming.
“We want every student that comes in here to feel welcome and like this is their esports venue,” President Wacker said. “St. Cloud State is a leader in esports in the state of Minnesota, and we will continue to be a leader in esports to make sure all of our students are able to participate and enjoy esports however they want to.”
The opening of the Huskies Esports Arena joins other modern facilities throughout campus to accommodate a variety of esports interests and activities, such as the Huskies Esports Lounge @ Atwood and the Halenbeck Esports Lounge. SCSU also incorporates a real-world, hands-on curriculum experience that helps shape students into working professionals in competitive gaming, marketing, casting and leadership.
“Our message that we are sending here at St. Cloud State for esports is a message of belonging,” Neukam said. “Whether that’s a career opportunity, a community-driven opportunity or a competition-driven opportunity, we are planting our flag and saying ‘you belong here for esports and we have a place for you’.”
Learn more about esports at SCSU, including how you can join our growing esports community, onsite facilities, academic programs, scholarships and more.
Huskies Esports Arena Launch Photo Gallery