Since then, one of our players was named a National Junior College Athletic Association esports (NJCAAe) champion, three of the program’s team have made the National Esports Collegiate Conference (NECC) playoffs, and multiple players have been named to the Eastern Pennsylvania Athletic Conference (EPAC) All-Academic Team. In addition, one of our nationally ranked players was recently awarded the prestigious Montgomery County Coaches Hall of Fame Annual Scholarship.
But perhaps most importantly, Mustang esports created a platform for all of our students to come together and have fun. If you’re an educator seeking to create an esports program at your school, consider taking the following three steps to maximize the program’s diversity and inclusivity:
- Dedicate physical, accessible spaces for gathering and gameplay: Just like a basketball team needs a court to practice and compete on, esports teams need a dedicated space to meet, train, and play. To maximize inclusivity, ensure these spaces are accessible to all students and located across all geographies your institution has a presence. Consider investing in state-of-the-art equipment and technology to attract more students and to ensure your athletes have everything they need to reach their highest potential.
- Make an inclusivity pledge: The Mustang esports program requires all students to sign an inclusivity pledge to ensure a sense of belonging is maintained among participants. By signing this pledge, our student athletes promise to foster an inclusive community that treats everyone with dignity and respect, refrain from making negative comments that disparage specific groups, never harass or bully other students, and report any violations of the program’s commitment to inclusivity to coaches and administrators. This pledge serves as an important reminder and sets a zero-tolerance policy for any form of unfairness or discrimination.
- Create a program structure built around inclusivity: To further promote inclusivity, create an esports program that offers a wide range of student support services to meet the needs of any student who wishes to participate. This can include professional development, mental health services, and integrated learning opportunities that attract a wide range of students to the program. Making these services available to athletes will also make them feel more comfortable and supported – a critical component of fostering inclusivity in any program.
Building an inclusive, diverse future
Esports represents the future of collegiate athletics, and not only because of the technology involved. It promotes a level of inclusivity that’s unmatched by other sports. When constructed in ways that promote diversity and inclusion, educators can create esports programs that are built to last. Not only will it provide a safe space for students to socialize, compete, learn, and grow, it will create a foundation for students to come together, build community, and create a culture of belonging that improves overall student wellbeing.
How esports is creating scholarships, jobs, and campus investments
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