Topeka, Kan. - Imagine a time when universities encourage students to play video games. That day has arrived as the Washburn University eSports & Gaming Lounge officially opens with a ribbon cutting at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2 in the Living Learning Center (LLC) on campus.

The new facility features 24 computers and tables, as well as a dozen of the most popular video games on the market. Students, as well as faculty and staff, may try their hand at Nintendo Switch, Xbox and other types of gaming systems. And while it may sound like all fun and games, an important goal powers the project.

“I think it is going to give students the opportunity to find their community,” said Dr. Eric Grospitch, vice president for student life at Washburn University. “There are a lot of students who like to game and want to connect. This is just another way they can find their place here at Washburn.”

The project is a partnership between the Washburn Student Recreation and Wellness Center and Washburn Residential Living. In addition to creating a space to relax, engage and have fun, Washburn is sponsoring an eSports and Gaming Club which may eventually compete against other university clubs.

Esports is becoming a popular trend on college campuses nationwide. According to Dan Wrenholt, assistant director of intramural and club sports at Washburn University, it is a great time to open a space and offer this new opportunity.

“Many Kansas high schools and other universities are fielding eSports teams, so this will give us prospective recruits, competitive rivalries and a great support system,” said Wrenholt. “Many students already spend time playing games and this will be a place for them to build a community together as well as represent Washburn in a new way.”

The lounge is funded by Maintenance of Effort (MOE) dollars which were given to educational institutions in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. These gaming systems have rapid refresh rates on monitors as well as extensive cache memory. The equipment is far-advanced of computers found in a home setting but offers a way for the university to feel more like home.

“The gaming systems here are add-ons for their experience at Washburn. The lounge presents ways to engage and connect with each other but it doesn’t replace going to class or doing homework, so we will track some of those hours to ensure that students can stay successful academically,” Grospitch said.


For further information, contact:
Lori Hutchinson
Interim Director of Public Relations
Telephone: (785) 670-1711
Cell: (785) 224-6212
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