Game consoles, TV screens installed to enable student gamers to socialize
Citing a surge of interest in esports along with the creation of a dedicated esports team earlier last year, the Student Union and UTD Dining Services teamed up to create a gaming cafe in The Pub.
Dan Goodwin, director of the Student Union, said the initiative was in direct response to students pushing for more gaming outlets on campus. The creation of the gaming cafe will offer students an area to exhibit their gaming skills and socialize with others, he said.
“We really wanted students to have that communal place with a good vibe for students to hopefully enjoy themselves,” Goodwin said. “We want to continually cultivate healthy relationships within students and having a gaming cafe was really one of the ways we felt that could happen with the surge of interest on campus.”
Prior to the creation of the cafe, non-competitive gaming areas on campus were limited to the ones located on the ground floor of the Student Union and Student Services Addition. These locations were either limited to allowing three or four gamers to play at any given moment or required students to provide their own gaming equipment to be able to make use of the space.
With the new gaming cafe in The Pub, there will be eight new gaming areas that will allow for three or four students to play at each gaming area at the same time, at no cost. Four of the eight stations will sport an Xbox One while the other four will have a PlayStation 4, each with its own set of pre-loaded games. Students will be able to play with their own personal gaming profiles on the consoles but are required to bring personal headsets to minimize disturbance for other Pub patrons.
The gaming cafe will be open in time for the start of the spring 2019 semester and will be available for use between 4 and 9 p.m. from Monday through Thursday. A staff member will be onsite to provide students with materials and manage the stations. The gaming cafe space can also be rented by campus groups.
Biology senior Safi Khan said the introduction of a cafe in The Pub will be a great addition to the student experience at UTD.
“Having places to get away from studying and classes is really important to me to be able to balance between work and play easily,” Khan said.
Director of Food and Retail Carrie Chutes-Charley said additions like the gaming cafe are the product of student engagement and participation in what they would like to see on campus.
“Our goal in Dining (Services) is really to foster growth and build community within students,” Chutes said. “This idea was really a win-win situation in that it both provides a student with a place to enjoy their food with entertainment in a nice atmosphere.”