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Esports program awarded grant for new lab and arena

Randolph College’s esports program has been awarded a capital project grant from the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC).

The $9,819 in funds will help convert the first-floor lounge space in Bell Hall into a dedicated esports lab and arena.

Coach Jordan Oliver said they’ll use the grant to help enhance the team’s new space, with new paint, doors, and an upgraded electrical system. Plans also include outfitting it with new furniture, including ergonomic gaming chairs, and computer equipment.

While the program officially launches in the fall, Oliver and a group of more than 20 students began meeting a couple times a week during the spring semester after the various stay-at-home orders were put in place. They used it as a way to stay connected while away from campus and have been competing weekly in the National Association of Collegiate eSports (NACE) Spring Cup.

“It’s been pretty successful,” Oliver said. “It’s definitely been more organic growth. We’re pretty happy we have those students who really want to be involved.”

He’s continuing to recruit for the program, which is open to any Randolph student, regardless of skill level.

“If there is a title that has a place in esports, that a student wants to play, we can facilitate that,” he said. “If you’re a beginner who has an interest, there is absolutely room for you to be involved and compete as well.”

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