Earlier this year the University of Roehampton launched esports scholarships, allowing ten students on any undergraduate and postgraduate courses enrolling at Roehampton to receive £1,500 in support.
But what has the university been up to since then and how has the take-up been?
The student gaming society is up and running, with more than 50 members and one League of Legends team in the NUEL’s university esports tournament.
The scholarships themselves have attracted around 15 applications for next year within the first few weeks of advertising, and the university says the awareness of its media coverage around this has been ‘huge’, with other university societies expressing interest.
The team is setting up an advisory board, which has its first meeting this week and focuses on developing student engagement and academic development, and is currently finalising branding for Roehampton Esports. It also opened a gaming/esports room earlier in the year (pictured) and is encouraging students to stream from there.
Jonas Kontautas, who is leading on developing esports at Roehampton, said that the gaming society is doing well, and there’s a team of students who are launching a dedicated esports society, which will start in January. The gender balance of active members is looking good too.
The gaming room is all up and running and Jonas is offering students the ability to learn how to livestream on Twitch as well as create content for Youtube. The first livestream from the Gaming Room is happening this month, involving first year undergraduate BA Film students.
Also, Roehampton Students’ Union, which hosts the student media channels Fresh Network (consisting of Fresh Magazine, Fresh TV & Fresh Air Radio) is looking to introduce Fresh Gaming.
Meanwhile, the university’s Mental Health Network, Societies & RSU have also all expressed their interest in working with Jonas on a range of activities. The university says wellbeing is ‘hugely important’ and all of its scholars will be provided with the same welfare, mental and physical health support it affords to its Sport Roehampton scholars.
Liam Hurley, Director of Strategy and Communications at the University of Roehampton, said: “We are delighted not only with the interest in our esports scholarships, the first of their kind in the UK, but also with the excitement and energy it has created among many of our students.
“At Roehampton, we have a strong emphasis on helping our students develop the confidence, knowledge and skills the need for a successful graduate career, and we provide a wide range of opportunities for them to develop their interests beyond their course of study. Engaging our students in esports, and in associated activities such as streaming and the creation of original creative content, helps provide them with the skills – teamwork, creativity and confidence – they need to do well in whatever career they choose.”