With esports becoming increasingly prevalent in the education space, there are more esports societies cropping up at universities and elsewhere.
But what are their benefits and how do you go about setting up your own? Mark McCready, president and founder of Queen Margaret University Esports Society, and Scotland representative at the British Esports Association, runs through the three Cs to get started: create, contact and compete.
Why set up an esports society or club?
Esports and video games are a fantastic form of entertainment amongst all groups of people, across the UK and globally.
Most esports (competitive gaming) activities take place online, allowing you and your friends to play together or against one another.
Creating an environment to meet friends physically and compete side by side against local teams (where safe to do so) is a fantastic experience for students, as is playing virtually against other teams across the country online. It helps them learn and develop social skills, make friends and learn about esports titles.
To help facilitate that, over the past few years many esports clubs and societies have been created, bringing young students together.
Schools, colleges and universities are great places for creating an esports society or club and connecting with friends in all year groups.
It allows you to find like-minded people studying other courses that you might not meet if you didn’t have a club.
Without further ado, here’s three steps to setting up an esports society at your school, college or university.
1. Create the demand
Most of us have groups of friends that we play popular esports titles with and are looking to improve in. For others this can be difficult, perhaps because some friends don’t play the same video games as one another, or maybe they’re more focused on single player campaigns.
Creating an esports/gaming society or club is a fantastic way of bringing friends and other groups together to create a fun social environment.
When starting out, ask your friends and other gamers you know if they’re interested in the idea of creating a social club. If there’s demand from around 8-10 students, it is likely the educational institution will provide support where they can. It’s in the interest of schools, colleges and universities to accommodate for their students and provide them opportunities to thrive.
2. Contact your faculty
Once you’ve formed a group interested in attending the club, contact a lecturer or teacher to discuss this and if they would be interested in supporting you.
A good starting place would be asking your lecturers or teachers that have an interest in video games – or played them growing up. Support from your peers can help you gain knowledge and skills in setting up the club around your school or university’s code of conduct (for example, when you can or can’t run the club, such as after hours or during lunch).
IT is a prime department to contact as they can give you advice and information on the school’s hardware available to run esports games like League of Legends, Rocket League or Overwatch (this can vary depending on the games that are played by your friends).
The above advice is generally good to follow, however there may be an independent Student Union at your university that handles sports and societies, so it’s worth contacting them. Remember, you may have more freedom at university to set up a society yourself, but at school or college you may need more permission from your teachers, so always check with them first.
There are normally minimum requirements to set up a society that you can enquire about from the student union. Student bodies are largely interested in promoting a campus with a variety of clubs and sports for students to engage in. This means an esports/gaming society would be a fantastic addition to their portfolio.
3. Compete in national competitions
It’s a great opportunity to introduce competition for your members to play against other schools and colleges in your area and across the UK.
The British Esports Championships is a series of national competitions for school and college students aged 12+ that allows them to form teams and play against others across the UK, in three games: League of Legends, Overwatch and Rocket League.
Teams usually play a weekly match after school or college, with the best teams qualifying for a live grand finals event year.
The British Esports Association has worked hard on creating this safe and secure environment for students. It’s not just about winning or competing – students can learn and improve their skills including communication, leadership and teamwork skills. Schools have reported an increase in behaviour, attendance and concentration levels.
A guide is available on the British Esports Association’s website specifically for educators that contains information about the PC hardware requirements and the British Esports Championships guide that outlines the PC requirements needed to play each of these esports titles.
For university students, they can compete in national competitions too, with a similar format to the British Esports Championships.
About the author
In April 2019, Mark McCready set up the esports society at Queen Margaret University.
He has experience coordinating his own tournaments and events, and also volunteered for Esports Scotland. He now works for the British Esports Association as its Scotland representative.