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The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

N.C. A&T Launches Brand New Esports Lab

Olivia Brooks
N.C. A&T officially launches new Esports lab for students of all majors.

The world of Esports, while not new to the gaming world, has become a global phenomenon and grown into a billion-dollar industry. On Feb. 7, N.C. A&T premiered its new Esports Lab in the student center, room 222. 

The lively event offered refreshments to guests and allowed visitors to see the lab live and in action, featuring A&T’s new Esports team and their skills. The lab includes over a dozen PCs, gaming devices, and many games for students to try. 

Gaming is a growing industry, and Dwayne Meekins, the Esports Coordinator, saw the importance of having a space like this at an HBCU. 

“Black youth over-index in playing video games, and we under-index in the production side of that industry. Over 80% of black youth between 12 and 27 played a video game within the past week,” Meekins said. “If we are playing that much, we should see and understand how we can not just be consumers of that medium. There are over 200 careers in esports, and I want to show that to students”. 

Meekins ensures something for everyone by offering casual games, intramural Esports for people who want to compete against their friends and intercollegiate esports.

“We have a whole range of games, from casual stuff to super competitive stuff,” Meekins said. 

Owning a video game business and having a history of gaming competitively allowed him to understand how gaming brings people together. “I want them to be able to find their tribe.”  

The creation of the Esports lab also allowed for the creation of an Esports team. Senior criminal justice student Julia Samuels joined the Esports team searching for something new. 

“Since I enjoy games, doing it at a competitive level would be a very interesting thing to try,” Samuels said. 

She also believes the lab will make a positive impact on students. 

“It is going to be a place that other gamers can go to to make new friends, have new memories and new experiences, and get better at games,” Samuels said. “ Not everyone has a console in their dorms, so I think this could be a home away from home for a lot of people, and I think it is a really fun experience overall.” 

Cameron Dalrymple, a sophomore Information Technology student, is also a part of the Esports team. Dalrymple has been playing games since he was a kid and wanted to get more involved. 

“I’ve been watching competitive Call of Duty for a while, and I wanted to be a part of that,” Dalrymple said. 

Like Samuels, Dalrymple also thinks the space will positively impact the students on campus. 

“Students can gain a safe environment for anybody to come in and play any game they want,” Dalrymple said. “Everybody is friendly and wants to get to know you.” 

Professional Gamer Isaiah Mcphatter, and Coach for the Esports team, believes it could impact students monetarily.

“It can help you get better competitively and can help you get money and scholarships,” Mcphatter said. 

Mcphatter attended A&T and competed in gaming tournaments. Mountain Dew and Gatorade now sponsor him, and he wants to give back to A&T through coaching. 

The Esports team currently competes in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and faces off against other HBCUs up and down the East Coast. 

The gaming lab is open to all students during the week from noon to midnight and on the weekends from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.

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