Tanner Sherlock
Staff Writer

Back in February, we at the Quaker Campus featured an article that explored how Poet eSports had been dealing with the pandemic. Things had been going well when we did that interview; they had teams practicing consistently, were making plans to expand the club and start new teams, and were generally excited to see what the future held. Fast forward to a little over two weeks ago, and the club released this announcement video on their official YouTube channel. It’s a little cheesy but in a good way!

For those who are unaware, Poet eSports is putting together a small, on-campus facility dedicated to enhancing the school’s ability to promote eSports. The Behenna eSports Lounge will be located in College Hall, in a set of rooms previously used for the phonations hosted by various Societies around campus. The Lounge is separated into two rooms, one with 10 computers that will be dedicated to playing eSports games, and another with one computer that will be used mainly for live streaming games. Said main room will also feature a TV, a couch, and broadcasting equipment aimed at providing the tools needed for eSports casters to commentate the club’s competitive games live. The club is also hoping to get an XBOX and PlayStation in the main room once the consoles become more available, and are aiming at getting a Switch in the room within a few months of the Lounge opening.

So how did this come about? According to Mason Gaw, Matt Vargas, and Nicko Morales, the Lounge’s creation was an extended string of good luck. Over the summer, Poet eSports was approached by the Athletics department and asked to try and establish an official eSports team for the College. Soon after that, Doctor Andrea Rehn (Head of the Whittier Scholars Program) reached out to the club and told them that someone wanted to donate money to get things going. That person was Timothy Anderson, Whittier College’s Vice President for Advancement and Strategic Partnerships, who wanted to support the club due to his own interest in games and the fact that his son is an eSports gamer. Anderson offered a single computer to get them started, which turned into three computers, and then the phonathon room, since it saw such little use. Everything seemed to be lining up perfectly, and things would get even better when Fred Anderson (no relation to Timothy), a member of Whittier’s board of trustees and the former CFO for Apple, donated a generous sum of money to the club to give them a major boost in establishing the Lounge. All of the major work that’s been done on the lounge started back in September, and the club has been working tirelessly since then to set everything up.

Gaw, Vargas, and Morales explained that the main goal of the Lounge is to facilitate Poet eSports’ status as a premier college eSports organization. Teams will practice in the lounge, and competitive tournaments hosted between Poet eSports and other college organizations will hopefully be held at the new facilities. They want people who are passionate eSports gamers to join the club and to be able to participate in a school activity that isn’t as physically demanding as a sport nor as socially demanding as a society, something that can strike a sweet spot for many students. It’s a major step up for the club itself, and many staff at the College are hoping that they’ll be able to use the Lounge as a recruiting tactic when they advertise to prospective students.

Currently, the club is looking to recruit more players. They already have an established Call of Duty and Super Smash Bros. team and are hoping to build teams for Rocket League, Valorant, League of Legends, Overwatch, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. If anyone is interested, they ask that you reach out by joining their Discord, or by following them on Instagram and Twitch. The Behenna eSports Lounge will, hopefully, have a grand opening and availing ceremony at the beginning of Fall 2021.

Featured Image: Courtesy of Poet eSports on YouTube

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