TOPEKA (KSNT) – Washburn University is expanding its horizons with the addition of an eSports and Gaming Lounge to its campus.

The sight of people playing their favorite video games at a university may be strange to some. Washburn University leaders say it represents a new way for students, faculty and staff to express themselves and experience a sense of community.

“I think it is going to give students the opportunity to find their community,” said Dr. Eric Grospitch, vice president for student life at Washburn University. “There are a lot of students who like to game and want to connect. This is just another way they can find their place here at Washburn.”

The new facility, located on the second floor of the Living Learning Center, features 24 computers and tables along with consoles such as the Nintendo Switch and Xbox, according to WU. It is set to officially open at 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 2.

The lounge is the result of a partnership between the Washburn Student Recreation and Wellness Center and Washburn Residential Living, according to a news release from the university. The lounge will be a place for people to relax or compete in the newly sponsored eSports and Gaming Club.

ESports is a popular trend on college campuses nationwide. It is a great time to open these new spaces and offer these opportunities to students, according to assistant director of intramural and club sports at WU Dan Wrenholt.

“Many Kansas high schools and other universities are fielding eSports teams, so this will give us prospective recruits, competitive rivalries and a great support system,” said Wrenholt. “Many students already spend time playing games and this will be a place for them to build a community together as well as represent Washburn in a new way.”

WU’s gaming lounge is funded by Maintenance of Effort dollars which were given to educational institutions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The gaming systems are more advanced than those found in a home setting so that students can feel more at home at WU.

“The gaming systems here are add-ons for their experience at Washburn,” Grospitch said. “The lounge presents ways to engage and connect with each other but it doesn’t replace going to class or doing homework, so we will track some of those hours to ensure that students can stay successful academically.”

Some of the games available at the new lounge include:

  • Call of Duty (CoD)
  • Counter Strike: Global Offensive (CS:GO)
  • Dota 2
  • FIFA
  • Fortnite
  • Hearthstone
  • League of Legends
  • Madden NFL
  • Overwatch
  • Rainbow Six Siege
  • Rocket League
  • StarCraft
  • Apex Legends
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG)
  • Valorant

To learn more about eSports at Washburn, click here.