Esports at SHU Continues to Take Off

Esports classes at Sacred Heart University (SHU) have grown in popularity due to the Esports minor that is now an option for students.

Esports is known as competitive video gaming. One of the main Esports classes that SHU offers is called Foundations in Esports. Junior Joseph Pugiliano attends Foundations in Esports every Wednesday. He is not a part of the school’s Esports team but enjoys video games.

“That is something I am looking into because it is a very quick and easy minor to get done,” said Pugiliano.

The Esports Game Night took place on Monday, Oct. 16. This was an event to promote the Esports minor at SHU.

“It’s for students to learn more about the minor because the minor is only six classes and they are three credits each so it’s really easy for people to add an Esports minor, then become a part of the Esports program and also be involved with the showcase, which is just a great experience in the first place no matter what your major is,” said graduate student and former Editor-in-Chief of the Spectrum, Mia Sansanelli.

As the Esports graduate assistant, Sansanelli is responsible for coordinating events for both the Esports minor and the Esports team. The spring showcase is one event that she planned which consists of teams competing in Esports.

“That weekend we have a bunch of Esports teams that come from just Connecticut, and they compete in about three to four games,” said Sansanelli.

This is an event that will provide students with useful skills and experience.

“Students would gain first-hand experience in areas such as social media, sponsorship, broadcast production, streaming, live casting, event management, and sports communication. You do not have to be declared for the minor to avail yourself of the capstone, or even working as an intern in preparation for the event,” said Prof. Joshua Shuart.

Shuart is one of the co-directors of the Esports academic program. A unique aspect about the Esports program is the variety of skills that students are exposed to.

“One thing we felt strongly about was that it would only work if we did it together. Where all sides could be represented, and business students were exposed to video production, journalism, media culture, and where communications students were exposed to marketing, sponsorship and event management. In the end, that is the best way to ensure a well- rounded educational experience,” said Shuart.

For students who want to take Esports further than the classroom, SHU has a club Esports team. This team consists of competitive and casual players.

“The main difference between competitive and casual gameplay is the skill. In casual, you get to play with pretty much anyone in any rank division plus you get to mess around and have fun with friends without the stress of losing any skill rating. In competitive, on the other hand, you get matched with players similar to your rank division and battle to gain victory and a higher skill rating,” said junior Daniel Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is a part of the Overwatch Esports team. He has matches once a week.

“I’m still thinking about whether I want to continue to pursue Esports in the future, especially since I will be starting work soon and might not have the same amount of time to play video games, but it would be fun to be on a team and play at that competitive level,” said Rodriguez.

For students like Rodriguez who want to continue with Esports, picking up the minor could give them that opportunity. “Our goal is to educate students for meaningful internships and employment where we already know the bulk of the jobs and revenue are in esports: business (ex: sponsorship) and communication (media rights),” said Shuart

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