Esports now have a permanent home on the Ontario Tech campus thanks to its student union. On Jan. 16, the Ontario Tech Student Union (OTSU) unveiled its new Esports Arena facility at Shawenjigewining Hall.
“The launch of our Esports Arena not only concludes a years-long effort to amalgamate the Esports scene at Ontario Tech, it is also symbolic of a larger change taking place at the OTSU as a whole,” said OTSU president Josh Sankarlal. “As we grow and change, the OTSU must expand to make connections beyond the walls of the university, and growing our Esports service to pit our players in games with other institutions nationwide certainly speaks to a portion of these efforts.”
The move is part of an ongoing effort to amalgamate several self-governed Esports teams at the club into a whole by offering a physical space where they can play and host matches.
“It’s about matching the needs and wants of our student population,” said Sankarlal. “It’s quite popular with our student body.”
The arena features 12 PCs with the latest specifications, capable of hosting community events and collegiate matches, and is open to all Ontario Tech students. Currently, the OTSU Esports program has 10 teams participating in the various competitions including “Valorant,” “Overwatch 2,” “League of Legends,” “Hearthstone,” “Call of Duty,” “Fortnite,” “Rocket League,” “Eternal Return,” “Beat Saber” and “Rainbow Six Siege.” They compete in numerous leagues, including NACE Starleague, ESports Canada Post-Secondary, NECC, College League of Legends and many more.
They recently competed in the Canadian Esports Nationals where almost all the teams made it to their respective playoff rounds.
“We’re very proud of every team,” said Sinthuyan Uthayanan, project co-ordinator for the OTSU. He said the new arena will be a benefit to the teams moving forward.
“It really enables more opportunities for students to grow their skills and it’s really nice to have that in-person interaction between players and community members rather than hosting online from home,” he said, noting the project has been a long time in the works.
“This space has come a long way from when the plans were first thought almost three years ago. We faced a lot of adversity building it and we couldn’t have done it without the support of the OTSU, our Esports student executives and the university’s IT department.”
The space will also allow Esports team members to grow awareness of the program, with planned goals including streaming matches to social media broadcasting games and events live.
ABOUT THE NECC
The NECC began sponsoring esports in the fall of 2020. The NECC is currently sponsoring both regular season competition and championships across a wide variety of titles. The conference aims to serve the gaming community with respect and is a safe and inclusive environment. With more than 300 colleges and universities throughout North America currently competing in the conference, the NECC is proud to be a positive and safe home for the collegiate gaming community.