ESports Club looks to expand following 2015 Wildcat Excellence Award

Leo Ji, Reporter

ESports Club, which started as two gaming groups unrecognized by University administrators, has earned the 2015 Wildcat Excellence Award for Outstanding New Student Organization.

The student group for video gamers now plans to use the publicity and recognition to expand and promote the group.

“We’re really just looking to expand and create more events,” said Weinberg junior James Yoon, the president of eSports Club and game head of its League of Legends division.

ESports Club, formed in 2014 and officially recognized in 2015, was created after the merger of two older groups, one focused on online multiplayer battle-strategy game League of Legends and another on crossover fighting video game Super Smash Bros. Both continue as committees in the eSports Club in a structure laid out by the club’s constitution.

McCormick junior Kyle Lueptow, eSports Club’s vice president and game head of the Super Smash Bros. division, said the next step in the club’s expansion plan is the addition of Hearthstone, an online collectible card game, as the club’s third division, since many of their League of Legends players play it too and it is possible that the two groups can meet at the same time.

Lueptow explained that the groups merged primarily to allow eSports Club to be registered, as Northwestern refused to recognize either of the predecessor groups because of a no-endorsement policy for particular organizations.

“To us, that’s ridiculous, because we’re not promoting Nintendo products, we’re not promoting even Smash as a product,” he said. “It’s like telling a baseball club that their club is supporting the sale of baseball bats and Wrigley chewing gum. That’s not what we’re doing, it’s the tools that we need to play what we want.”

The Wildcat Excellence Awards highlight achievements of students, student organizations and their advisers on an annual basis. The Outstanding New Student Organization award is specifically given to a student organization on campus that has not existed for longer than two years and has demonstrated outstanding potential to improving the NU community.

The club’s overall membership numbers vary because of the open nature of their events. Lueptow said between 20 to 30 students regularly go to the Super Smash Bros. division, while Yoon estimated between 30 to 40 students regularly go to the League of Legends division meetings.

Edison Urena, a Weinberg sophomore, found out about the club last year after a friend sent him a picture of a poster advertisement for an event run by the eSports Club.

“Everyone (at the club) is really cool,” Urena said. “I was looking for a community that was centered around video games, so I went to the event at Norris.”

Urena described the event as feeling like “a relic from childhood” because it reminded him of playing games with friends in middle school.

“I don’t get to go as often as I’d like, but from the times that I’ve met with the people, played with them, they’re good people, and I really like them,” he said.

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