SLU Esports Lab Opens to Student Body


   The sound of giant scissors slicing through a blue ribbon guarding the door to the new Esports Gaming Lab marked a tremendous step forward for SLU. The Jan. 28 ceremony took place at 3 students, faculty and staff gathered around to hear from SLU President Fred Pestello, Ph.D., and program director Nicholas Chiu. 

   Pestello remarked that he would have never imagined an esports team and facility when he started at SLU and that their inception and the help from Chiu has been a blessing of student feedback and desire. 

   Upon opening the doors to the public, a crowd of around 50 huddled into the room to see the new facility. With plenty of action on screens, people were ready for the future of the program. Smash Bros, Lego Star Wars and God of War played on the consoles, and of course the varsity teams were there for some friendly displays of League of Legends and Overwatch. People talked with friends old and new, as well as checked out some intramurals for the less hardcore players.

   Freshman Trenton Gin, who plays off tank on the Overwatch team, is one of the most vocal players on the team and said he is very excited to see the program develop and to see the space blossom. “What I’m hoping for is a supportive environment where people can come, have fun, have a place to destress from classes and exams and just play video games. Video games are so universal in that sense, and that’s what I love about it,” said Gin, also joking about the overall atmosphere of the facility quipping, “I’m hoping people will share the controllers.”

   WIth things like Overwatch League starting home and away games and League of Legends selling out Chaifetz, it seems so natural for the new program to open its home to the students. “There have always been students walking by trying to open the door and everything and I feel really bad about always having to turn them away, but finally opening it up to the rest of the student body is something that marks a new chapter in SLU’s venture into esports,” said Chiu.

   SLU Athletic Director Chris May was in attendance as well to see the space. While esports are currently off the board for the NCAA, this begs the question of future expansion into the collegiate governing body. As stands, Chiu is definitely happy with the freedom the program experiences running itself. “We’re also able to bring money back to SLU if we are able to win, because it’s not NCAA regulated,” Chiu said.

 Chiu, the teams and everyone else are extremely excited to see growth this program makes in the coming years. To quote a big old German man from Overwatch, “there is still more to my tale!”