The Science and Technology Center (STC) now hosts the university’s new esports lab, a bold step for the esports and gaming management major and gaming on campus.
“I think that there’s a lot of focus on traditional stick and ball sports and intramurals and providing opportunities for students to participate in that, but, as we’ve evolved, students are participating in team sports in different ways,” Esports and Gaming Management Program Director Christina Alejandre said. “This provides an opportunity for students who like to game together and on a competitive level, come and practice and have a place that they can actually play together versus sitting in their disparate dorm rooms with varying levels of computer capabilities.”
Located in STC 232, the esports lab houses 12 PC gaming set-ups for student use. “They didn’t skimp at all on the PC quality,” Esports Club President Domenic DeSantis said. “These are PCs that won’t require upgrades for probably another four or five years. So these are really solid to get off the go.”
“If you’re playing a game where you’re attacking the enemy, it could mean a pixel or a frame rate that you might miss that shot,” Alejandre said. “We needed computers that were able to process the games at their top-tier level.”
According to Dean of the School of Business Matthew Reilly, $75,000 was invested in the lab through the annual capital budget, cultivating the esports and gaming program.
The Esports Club is currently looking to form competitive teams for Valorant, Overwatch, League of Legends, Rocket League, and various other popular titles. Leadership hopes to continue networking over the winter and begin competing with other schools during the spring semester. An advantage of esports global nature is that the Lasers compete with groups outside of New England. Locally, they have already sent an Overwatch team to the Boston Uprising Collegiate Cup. They made the semifinals in their division.
“We’re going to be allowing people to join our club and use the esports room as a recreational facility,” DeSantis said. “But more importantly, a few years down the road, this very much could turn into a varsity program for the school with enough support.”
This fledgling facility and club have been created in tandem with the Longe School of Business’ Esports and Gaming Management major and minor. The program gives students a look at esports distribution and marketing, among other important industry topics.
“I would really love to see Lasell University competing at a very high level against other colleges and universities, in big tournaments and being a big name on there,” Alejandre said. “But most importantly, I think it’s important to build a best-in-class curriculum and program so that when students leave, they can go and be prepared in the industry.”
Alejandre believes the esports and gaming management minor is important for engaging the School of Communication and the Arts. “You have broadcasting, you have communications, you have public relations, you have graphic design, you have video production, all that stuff. That is part of the sports industry, and being able to add that minor and draw from the strengths of both schools is going to be really important.”
The lab is open Monday through Thursday from 2-4 p.m. For additional information on operating hours, visit the club’s discord.