Celebrating CSI Gamer’s Club Success
By: Anthony “Tony” Acevedo
At CSI students frequently gather in 1C in the space next to the Green Dolphin Lounge along the tables in the back. Sitting side-by-side playing laptop games, appraising Yu-Gi-Oh cards, giggling over a funny joke together, playing chess, and watching anime together are among many activities students do to bond.
Like the olden days before the advent of online gaming, when split screen with your buddy on the couch at home was mainstream or Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) was the MMO of the day, now at CSI the old ways have returned.
“One day I saw these guys playing Yu-Gi-Oh, and they let me join in. We’ve been playing together ever since.” Shared Joey Wheeler as he goes by due to his favorite deck being of the same-name-sake character from the Yu-Gi-Oh television show.
As Joey shares how passionately he loves goat decks, which are decks made up from classic and original Yu-Gi-Oh cards, he emphasizes that the thrill of a good duel can be all you need to forget your troubles. Joey gathers in 1C to duel with other friends who frequent the gaming scene there.
They all have formed their own community of mini-communities and niches.
“I’ve thought about starting a chess club,” admits Edison Chow, a friend of Joey’s among this group, who loves chess and cubing. He even sports a four-way chess board!
CSI has become a safe place for gaming-in-person regardless of the game. As there are many small groups of students that gather near the tables in 1C to game, they all share a common passion for good fun and friendship.
Throughout the day varying pockets of this gaming community overflow the tables with a welcoming environment. Even though 1C has many students gaming at these tables, they are not with an official club.
There is, however, a gaming club called CSI Gamer’s Club, which does serve to officially celebrate and embrace the gaming in person experience. Recently this Spring 2019 Semester The Gamer’s Club acquired the privilege to rent out the gaming room in 1C, which is located on the second floor, during their club hours.
At their meeting, everyone gathers and casually settles into the room. It was packed with students huddled around a PlayStation 4 playing Street Fighter, another television had students playing Super Smash Brothers on a Wii U, while other students played retro games like Super Mario on an old NES Nintendo system donated by Vincent Loretta.
After a few games of billiards, I was curious why this club was so popular out of all the clubs on campus. According to Debi Kee, the Student Life Director, there are about 150 club leaders involved in approximately 30 clubs on campus. What has lent to the success of The Gamer’s Club?
Vincent, the President of CSI Gamer’s Club also known as the gaming club, shared regarding the success of the club, “It’s really a friendly environment, people who wouldn’t normally talk will come and bond over a game I never heard of.”
The truth is many students are running to the gaming club, since the Spring 2019 Semester their membership has grown. During this semester that trend does not seem to slow down as their members easily overpopulate the small gaming room in 1C. They may need a bigger room or even a gymnasium if this trend continues.
Jay, Editor-in-Chief of The Catalyst, offered to sponsor the gaming club after hearing their budget couldn’t support food for meetings. When I asked why he would do this he shared, “I feel like it’s a safe haven, a great place for people to come together.”
Jay tried starting a chemistry club on campus, but it didn’t garner enough interest among the student body. In fact, I myself revived a writing club on campus last semester. A Reason to Write, a club which emphasizes students to grow as writers and encourage one another has proved to only be a minor success this semester.
It appears more students these days gravitate toward casual clubs rather than academic clubs. What happened to The Accounting Club, The Drama Club, The Gospel Choir Club, The Psychology Club, and others? Students want something different.
On March 26th in 1R, the main gym there was a gaming event which had an excellent setup for gaming in person with friends. Jumbo-trons setup Mario Kart, Pac-Man, an NBA game, Smash Brothers, and even a dancing game all contributed to this massive gaming nerdgasm. It was all about hanging out with your friends and enjoying your favorite games together.
CSI Gamer’s Club President Vincent Loretta shared, “It’s a lot of fun, we have a raffle, a meal voucher, free food,” I inquired how this event got started, “Student Life organized it with Next Level Gaming. The gaming club is helping run it.” Vincent humbly admitted that there were more hands in the pudding that was this magnificent display of gaming, food, and friends.
I eventually spoke with members of Campus Activities Board about the event, their organization actually initiated the work to make it happen.
Melissa Sipione, the Student Government Finance Representative who is on CAB board shared, “I love video games, I really wanted to bring this event to campus, and I brought it to the board.”
She had heard about the company Next Level Gaming and looked them up. She shared this information with the board when she presented the idea. Many were won over.
“It was Melissa’s idea, we all worked together,” shared Joe Weisber, the Event Coordinator with CAB. “I joined in February, it was already going, but I thought it was a great idea, that is why I supported it,” admitted Alexa Solis, with On the Road which is apart of CAB that manages trips off campus.
It is refreshing to know that even students in positions of power and authority on campus acknowledge the desire from students to be apart of a gaming culture. Even the Student Life Office acknowledges the desire for students to be apart of this gaming culture on campus.
Debi Kee shared “Student groups are formed around a common interest and when we see groups of students participating in a shared activity, we often approach them and share information about ways they can formalize their group.”
Students interested in finding other students with common interests, she urged, should visit the Involvement Center in 1C-212B to learn more.