Growth is the game: a GS gaming organization achieves a major goal

His stomach was churning with excitement. He felt a surge of emotion. This was it. All their hard work had led to this moment.

Kevin Williams, the executive director of Southern Collegiate Gaming Association, finally saw what five years working with the e-sports organization could accomplish.

SCG was officially deemed a club sport by Georgia Southern University on Thursday, April 13.

The gaming, or e-sports, organization, will now get a level of recognition and resources, like coaching and financing, that it could not acquire on its own.

What SCG does

Currently, SCG’s competitive teams are “League of Legends”, “Overwatch”, “Rocket League”, “Smite”, “Call of Duty”, “CSGO” (Counter Strike Global Offensive) and “Super Smash Brothers”.

The organization also offers several services for students beside the competitive gaming. It has casual gaming available for those who do not want to play competitively or are working toward that goal.

Additionally, SCG provides leadership and mentorship programs for students who want to lead and serve others and who want to have the counsel from an older adult.

As well, SCG helps players travel to functions like gaming tournaments and camping trips.

“Anything that the students would want to do or try, we try to put it together so they can all go with people who have similar interests,” Williams said.

What it took

This accomplishment for SCG was a dream for Williams and other gamers back in 2012. The first group of students who started with the organization then have since graduated.

“Sending them a message saying ‘hey, you know what you guys were dreaming for, hoping for the program for other students, it’s a real thing now,” Williams said. “Having them celebrate, post things all over their Facebooks…it feels like we’ve really hit a milestone that we’ve been working towards.”

Getting SCG to become a club sport did not happen overnight. It took work on both Wiliams’ and the members’ parts.

A large part of what Williams believed helped SCG become a club sport were its initiatives to help students in need and the university’s willingness to collaborate in those efforts.

Benefits of being a club sport

Williams explained that one of the biggest payoffs that SCG gets from being an official club sport is the credentials.

“Official recognition by the university goes a long way. There are companies that might not know about SCG as an organization, but they know Georgia Southern,” Williams said. “Once they hear that Georgia Southern now backs what we do...when a company sees that, they’re like 'they have a university behind them'.”

Those factors will make technology-related and other companies more likely to want to invest in the SCG students.

Another significant change in SCG’s operations is that it will now get an official budget from the university.

“We’ve always been self-sustaining...we’ve been raising money for a long time to do what we do,” Williams said. “It [the recognition] makes this thing long. It gives us a lifetime.”

Mikey Henning, a senior computer science major and member of the League of Legends competitive team, shared how he thought the budget would impact him and the other SCG members.

“If people really don’t have that much money on trips, we have a budget now,” Henning said. “More people might be joining us since we’re the official e-sports team, so [it’s] more competition, since you’ll have to play for your spots. That pushes each of us all around to get better.”

More helping hands

As SCG grew, Williams saw that he and the organization board needed to hire an executive assistant to help with his increasing amount of responsibilities.

“It [SCG becoming a club sport] made that position look so much more attractive, because it speaks of longevity...without the university backing, it’d be a lot harder,” Williams said.

The final candidate for the executive assistant job is Luke Panosian, a 2016 graduate of GS who majored in general studies with a focus on business management and communication arts.

Panosian and Williams worked together a few times while Panosian was still attending the university. They both worked in Chi Alpha, a local college ministry.

Looking forward

Williams thinks that GS is becoming more known for e-sports now that the university is providing more resources to the SCG students.

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