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AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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By Max Porter, Contributing News Editor • February 26, 2024

GWU Esports partners with largest global esports organization

Executive+board+members+said+they+plan+to+use+the+resources+provided+through+the+new+partnership+to+host+more+University-wide+gaming+events.
Courtesy of Alex Stengel
Executive board members said they plan to use the resources provided through the new partnership to host more University-wide gaming events.

A professional esports organization will partner with GW’s competitive gaming student organization in a national effort by the company to mentor college students interested in esports.

Leaders of GWU Esports said the new partnership with Team SoloMid University, a collegiate subsidiary of TSM established in 2021, will mentor members in competitive gaming, provide job and internship opportunities for members, supply the organization with merchandise and include quarterly check-ins with members about their needs in exchange for publicity. Executive board members said they plan to use the resources provided through the new partnership to host more University-wide gaming events.

SM Lahti, the head of marketing and content at TSM, said GWU Esports is part of TSMU’s partner program, which asks “more” from members but offers more “perks” in return compared to their affiliate program. She said TSMU partners with 27 esports groups through universities in North America and affiliates with eight school groups.

Lahti said esports groups have to demonstrate “stability” and “dedication” at their university to be considered for partnership with TSMU. She said the goal of TSMU’s partnership program is to provide college students closer access to the sphere of professional esports through resources and contacts.

“GWU Esports has been very easy to work with so far and we’re excited to see what they accomplish throughout the rest of this year,” Lahti said in an email.

Sophomore Brayden Kloster, the incoming president of GWU Esports, said the application process for the partnership was “straightforward” since he had to fill out a Google Form on behalf of the student organization and provide TSMU with information about GWU Esports that highlighted their growth over the past few years. He said TSMU officials approved the organization for the partnership last month based on the merit of their growth.

Kloster said the agreement mandates the organization publishes 12 posts on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram highlighting TSM as an organization and a 10-minute video promoting the TSMU program each year on the same platforms. He said if the Student Association does not provide adequate funds for events or gaming equipment like team jerseys, TSM is “willing” to try to provide funds, but the main purpose of the partnership does not center around funding.

Kloster said GWU Esports members have been talking with other companies like Dell and Logitech to secure partnerships with them in the future to further the student organization’s level of external support. He said partnering with companies gives members a reason to be proud of what they do and will help draw in more members.

“Advice from people that know what they’re doing and get paid to do that is really helpful,” Kloster said.

Freshman Caleb Briskman, the incoming vice president of GWU Esports, said he thinks TSMU recognized GW Esports’ passionate members and competitive teams, who are constantly creating new events and looking to expand, leading the organization to become a partner school with TSMU — their highest form of partnership, which allows members access to “everything” TSMU offers. He said the student organization has teams for every “major” competitive video game, including Super Smash Bros., Overwatch, Valorant and FIFA, which compete in collegiate leagues across the country.

“Our primary goal is to just make the club feel even more like a community,” Briskman said. “Because of how big the club is, a lot of people are just kind of there but don’t really consistently go to events or they’re just members but not necessarily active.”

Senior Alex Stengel, the outgoing president of GWU Esports, said TSMU was impressed by the student organization’s expansion in the last three years, increasing from 30 students in 2019 to now over 800 members, which he spearheaded through increased marketing and partnering with freshmen orientation leaders to recruit freshmen.

“So it really grew from this really small, somewhat-tight-knit community into this large organization that has a bunch of little tight-knit communities inside,” Stengel said.

Stengel said he has worked to create an environment in GWU Esports where students’ lack of access to electronics doesn’t inhibit their ability to join by always having gaming computers available. He said he hopes the partnership will make GWU Esports stand out as a “legitimate” student organization to the University so they will relocate them from the fourth floor of the University Student Center to a larger space on the second floor which he said officials first promised them in fall of 2021.

“It definitely helps for us to have other professional businesses being like ‘We support this, this is a good idea, we’re gonna invest in this and invest time into it’ and to show the University, ‘Hey, this is not just like some fever dream that some student has decided to come up with,’” Stengel said.

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About the Contributor
Fiona Bork, Assistant News Editor
Fiona Bork is a sophomore majoring in journalism and mass communication from San Diego, California. She is The Hatchet's 2023-2024 assistant news editor for the Student Life beat.
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