two esports club members bump fists while sitting in front of computers

Laker Esports Center opens, team competes against Davenport

The Laker Esports Center, located in the lower level of Kirkhof Center, officially opened January 18 when the club team competed against Davenport University.

President Philomena V. Mantella was on hand to celebrate the grand opening, saying she is glad Grand Valley can offer space for students to join this trending sport of competitive video gaming. 

Isaac Beasley, the esports club's vice president, said the center has 23 computer stations. In addition to hosting competitions, the center has drop-in hours available for students, faculty and staff members.

“The Laker Esports Center provides a space that not only increases the accessibility of esports but also fosters a fun social environment for anyone to walk-in, play video games and begin building friendships,” Beasley said.

Esports club member sits in front of computer, wearing a mask and headphones
The esports club team has more than 550 members.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts
Esports club members, in jerseys, stand while President Mantella, also in a jersey, talks to them with her back to the camera
President Philomena V. Mantella receives her own team jersey.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts
two esports members sit in front of computers
The Recreation and Wellness department oversees the LEC.
Image credit - Amanda Pitts

The Recreation and Wellness department oversees the LEC and hired Christopher Bilski last summer to serve as esports director. With more than five years of experience in esports, Bilski said the sport has grown tremendously, especially on university campuses.

“When I got started in esports there was this passion for gaming, and inside that passion is the desire to compete and to represent your school,” Bilski said. “I was confident Grand Valley would get to where we are today, and I only see it growing from here.”

Grand Valley's esports club has more than 550 members. Bilski said any student who has a passion for video games is encouraged to join the club, including those not interested in competitive gaming. 

“You have the opportunity to meet people and play alongside them and create friendships that potentially will last a long time," he said.

Days and times for drop-in gaming can be found on the RecWell website

– written by Camryn Snider, student writer


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