After the first full week of classes,
the University of Oklahoma’s Gaming Club had its back to school weekend, a three day event filled with games, food, prizes, and community.
Videography by Mike “Moog” Aguilar, Montana “The Kubrickian” Sullivan, Zachary “Thunderbird” Satz, and Elise “Elisu” Siler.
Video editing by Quaide Parker
The back to school weekend event consisted of three full days of action: from the return of Sooner Smash Dojo on Friday night to casual party games and giveaways on Sunday night.
The event was aimed at welcoming the OU gaming club back to campus and allowing students to meet and connect with their peers in the organization, while also giving them an opportunity to play video and tabletop games with each other.
Michael “Moog” Aguilar, Director of Esports and Co-curricular Innovation and the Lead Advisor of the OU Gaming Club, discusses the goals of the back to school weekend event.
“Three days of fellowship, focused a bit around competition, but more so around community,” Aguilar said. “The OU Gaming club is focused first and foremost on fellowship, creating a safe environment that really emphasizes inclusive ideals. Gaming is a great equalizer where everyone is welcome to play.”
In the past 2 months, the OU gaming club’s members have risen to 700; from 1800 in July to 2500 after this event. This includes an over 250% increase in women and minorities in the organization.
With over 300 people attending the event, the OU Gaming Club gave over $4,400 in prizes with help from Computer Connection and HyperX, in the form of monitors, backpacks, mouses, and more, including a custom built gaming PC.
Student Edgar Rivera wins the grand prize PC from Computer Connection
Cade Haroldson, a sophomore information studies major, said that he was really excited to meet so many people and be a part of the community.
“I really wasn’t expecting this many people to be here, and it’s really nice to see all these people come together for one thing, being videogames,” Haroldson said. ”It’s crazy to think how far we have come to have events of this caliber, and it’s great to come out on a college campus again.”
With their recent expansion, the OU Gaming Club is giving out $55,000 in scholarships to their development and esports teams this semester.
Maleeha Hameed, a sophomore architecture major, said that while she came to play games, her favorite part of the event was the community.
“While I came to play Super Smash Brothers, I said hi to some people and others said hi to me, and I feel like I’ve made so many new friends, which is really cool and makes me less nervous to come back to esports events in the future,” Hameed said. “It’s really cool to see the size and diversity of the community here, seeing so many different people come together to be a part of the community.”
With the club’s back to school weekend finished, work is starting on the department and development team’s dedicated space in the Cross Building, as well as work for upcoming events and projects for the club’s future. The club has already settled into their first office in the building with more space to come in the near future.
“Hopefully people will see that OU Esports is a real thing, and it’s nothing to be messed around with. We’re all open, it’s a huge community. Whoever wants to play, we welcome,” Haroldson said.