Playing for Bronzeville: Illinois Tech Esports Set to Connect Community



By Casey Moffitt

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Students playing esports

Esports opportunities at Illinois Institute of Technology are primed for exponential growth through new partnerships that will be outlined during the VR Expo Tennis Esports event that will take place on Saturday, July 23, 2022, at The McCormick Tribune Campus Center.

Illinois Tech Esports has previously engaged the Illinois Tech community in casual and competitive gaming through high-level tournaments and casual local area network (LAN) parties, creating a space for everyone to connect through gaming. However, new opportunities to engage in esports beyond campus will be initiated through a partnership with SMASH Interactive to create the new Bronzeville Esports League.

“Illinois Tech Esports continue to do projects that support the community around us,” says April Welch, associate vice president of strategic initiatives and director of esports and digital arts at Illinois Tech. “The Bronzeville Esports League will be run by our students for students in schools who do not have access to esports. SMASH Interactive was one of the first companies to sign on to support the Bronzeville Esports League, and it will be helping with space and events.”

The Bronzeville Esports League will expand access to esports throughout Chicago’s South and West sides, with a focus to bring esports to schools and community organizations that do not have existing teams or programs. This will include outreach to local high schools and middle schools, as well as hosting family events.

The Bronzeville Esports League also will foster interest in esports professions beyond the competitors. These include organizers such as event planners, marketers, and publicists. Esports also needs technical and network supporters, web developers, and business developers. Esports also is a haven for content creators such as game designers, software developers, social media experts, animators, artists, and video editors.

The Bronzeville Esports League also is receiving support through the Esports Trade Association, which has bestowed a $1,000 honorarium to the league.

The VR Expo and Tennis Esports event will include a Bronzeville Esports League workshop that will explain its plans and how Illinois Tech students, and the greater community, can get involved. The expo will also include networking events and workshops by FitGMR, Warrior GMR, and PowerUp Academy. The Unity workshop will be held for those who are interested in creating games and will be followed up with an opportunity to participate in a Unity camp organized by Isaiah Perez, Illinois Tech’s new esports coordinator.

In addition the expo will include competitions in virtual reality tennis with support and platform provided by Chicago-based UGS Gaming and a scavenger hunt with prizes that include a laptop, donated by LG, and a Samsung tablet. Free T-shirts will be available, provided by SHI.

The VR Expo and Tennis Esports event will be held from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Registration is required to attend.