What is NIU Esports?
NIU Esports is an inclusive program for gamers of all backgrounds, abilities and skill levels to play video games and have fun together.
Our goal is to position the NIU Esports varsity teams as national competitors and leaders of collegiate esports in northern Illinois and our club as a welcoming place to support the social and educational aspects of video gaming.
Through the Esports Arena on the DeKalb Campus, we've built a space to gather, play, compete and learn from one another.
GG House, our Esports Special Interest Community in Neptune East, is designed just for esports enthusiasts to live together, make friends, learn about careers in esports and, of course, play video games!
We hold events throughout the year to help connect NIU students, alumni, high school and community college students and anyone who enjoys playing video games.
Each year, we host an Esports Career Lecture Series, where industry professionals share the story of their path to a career in esports.
Promote healthy gaming practices
Our program puts gaming and competition into perspective. Our code of conduct promotes positive, constructive behavior, and emphasizes a balance between playing video games, studying, resting and building positive relationships. We find that by creating places to compete together in person, players look after one another and help support that balance.
Support new technologies in learning and research
Our Esports Arena provides an exciting setting for faculty, graduate students and undergraduate students to do esports-related research in their fields of study. We offer the opportunity to teach courses or conduct research studies using the equipment in our facilities.
Our Varsity Program
NIU is a founding member of the Esports Collegiate Conference (ESC) that officially launched in the summer of 2020. The 2020-21 academic year is our first competing in the ESC against the other Mid-America Conference member schools and Northeastern University. We have three varsity teams, playing Rocket League, League of Legends and Overwatch. We currently have 27 student players and three student coaches.
Each of our three teams practices and competes from the NIU Esports Arena, a dedicated space on campus that is also home to our current batch of esports computer setups. The space also serves students with open-play hours that help to spread awareness of the benefits of esports, while also providing a place for students to find community and have fun.
What is the goal of our campaign?
Our goal is to raise enough money to purchase at least four computer setups (gaming PC/computer tower, mousepad, mouse, headset, keyboard, gaming chair, monitor) for our esports arena. These computers will be dedicated for our varsity players, thus freeing up four existing computers for club members and current students to use casually. Each setup costs approximately $2,000, and a relative breakdown of costs is provided in our donation levels.
Our current esports computers aren’t liquid cooled, which creates the potential for our PCs to overheat during competition. Replacing these computers with state-of-the-art equipment will allow us to compete on an even playing field with our Esports Collegiate competitors during tournament play and give our players peace of mind that their computers won’t get in the way of playing their best.
What will be the impact of my support?
The impact of having new computers is multi-layered:
- As our rivals in the Esports Collegiate Conference level up their equipment, we too must level up ours to stay ahead of the pack.
- Our premium-grade varsity computers will serve as an important morale booster and an important centerpiece as we work to attract the best esports athletes in the region. These PCs serve as a recognition for our players who invest 10-15 hours each week into the program, even without any form of scholarship or award recognition.
- Our esports program in general at NIU is growing, and the number of students interested in playing casually and competitively has increased dramatically in the last 18 months. A unique objective of our program is make our esports arena open to all enrolled students and encourage those who may not have access to a gaming PC to try out our equipment at no cost. By providing eight more computers to our stock of non-varsity PCs, we allow more students to play for fun during our open-play sessions.
This fundraiser is extremely important to our NIU Esports program. We aren’t funded by any student fees and we have no sponsors at this time. Our spending has been severely limited by reductions in our budget, and we’ve had to delay any major equipment purchases. At the same time, we’re excited to be able to compete against 12 other schools in the Esports Collegiate Conference, and we would like to be able to compete on a level playing field.