SNHU launches competitive esports program

A team of 20 students will represent SNHU in local, regional and national competitions

Southern New Hampshire University will be launching a varsity esports program for University Campus students this fall — the is the first competitive esports program in New Hampshire and one of only a few in New England, according to the university.

Esports are multiplayer video games played competitively for spectators. Esports are becoming increasingly popular on college campuses across the country, according to a press release from SNHU. SNHU's esports team will consist of approximately 20 team members and represent SNHU in local, regional and national competitions in games such as League of Legends, Overwatch, Hearthstone, and Fortnite. The program will be led by the new director of esports, Tim Fowler.

"SNHU has seen tremendous growth and interest from students in the gaming club over the past few years, so we felt strongly about taking this next step to officially launch a competitive esports team and continue the tradition that the students have begun at SNHU," said Fowler. "As the new school year approaches, I am excited to continue working with our student-athletes to take our team to the next level and to build a fun and inclusive gaming community on campus."

SNHU will begin offering esports scholarships to new and current students in fall 2019.

In addition to its new esports program, SNHU is currently outfitting housing on campus designed specifically for gamers. The pod-style housing will be located on the third floor of Hampton Hall and will house 48 students — six students per pod — starting in fall 2018.

While esports scholarships will be open to students of any major, SNHU offers a variety of gaming-related majors including Game Art and Development, Game Programming and Development, Graphic Design and Media Arts, and Web Design.

"Parents often wonder about the effects of playing too many video games, but I have learned that esports are more than just games," said Heather Lorenz, vice president of student affairs and dean of students at SNHU. "Through esports, our students are learning real-world skills applicable in our changing workforce, they are being challenged with scenarios in teamwork and problem solving, and they are being prepared for careers in a booming, billion-dollar gaming industry."

SNHU has partnered with the National Association of Collegiate Esports as a member institution.  Through the NACE, institutions agree to standards for eligibility and conduct for collegiate esports. 

"Every new institution to launch a varsity esports program represents a win for students around the country interested in pursuing higher education while competing in something they love, SNHU is a great partner to have join us," said Michael Brooks, NACE's executive director.

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