HBCU students met top executives within gaming and esports for a day of mentorship, networking, and more
In the past week, it was announced that McDonald’s would be teaming up with global esports organization Gen.G as well as the Black Collegiate Gaming Association (BCGA) to present the HBCU+ College NetWORK Summit. Integrating the BCGA not only opened a dialogue about diversity within the esport community but introduced students from the HBCU+ to professions and entrepreneurs in the esport industry.
This event allowed 16 students to participate in an NBA 2K tournament. The prize was $1,000 to whichever participant took home the win. The games were streamed by the Gen.G Twitch channel which brought even more attention to the cause. This was a student experience and exposure that can spark a passion for the industry.
“It’s not enough to just open the doors to gaming and esports to a new generation. There has to be a way to retain those who come into the space, and that’s what we’re hoping to accomplish with HBCU+ College netWORK,” said Keshia Walker with BCGA. “We want to equip these students with the knowledge and grit to pursue their passion long term, together.”
It is not all about the tournament. Esports executives and industry professionals will step up to help mentor students and educate them through panels, discussions, and networking mixers. This exposure to these big names can help these students make connections that can help propel them into the esport industry. During the panels, Black leaders and executives who are a part of the gaming and esport world were able to talk openly about their experiences. To have a mirror instead of a window looking in is a powerful element within education and any industry that is looking to diversify.
Discussion topics will include how to address toxicity in the workplace, along with emerging trends such as NFTs, crypto, blockchain, and lottery. There are notable speakers and organizations such as Jessica Murrey, member of the Game Awards Future Class and CEO of Wicked Saints Studios, Jabari Alii, game designer at Skydance Interactive, and creator HipHopGamer. These names came to the summit to help give insight and share their knowledge of their experiences within the industry. Not only were the well-known panelists able to talk at the discussion but the students had an opportunity to network and gain one on one time to speak and ask questions.
HBCU+ College NetWORK
“McDonald’s has an ongoing commitment to providing access to educational opportunities and resources that will help students succeed,” said Craig B. Welburn, President of McDonald’s Capital Business Unit and McDonald’s Owner Operator. “Partnering with BCGA and Gen.G, helps prepare students to transition their dreams into reality and it’s an honor to invest in the next generation of leaders in gaming and esports.”
“HBCU+ College NetWORK” is the in-person evolution of the first HBCU NetWORK Conference in 2022, held in the Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Eastern Shore area. This collaboration between BCGA, Gen.G, and McDonald’s shows a dedication to bridging the opportunity gaps in gaming and esports. “HBCU+ College NetWORK” is designed to present attendees with the opportunity to interact with professionals from all areas of competitive gaming, ranging from content creation to venue management.
This is a huge step toward bringing new voices into the industry by allowing students to interact and gain knowledge from those who have experienced the industry firsthand and have seen success. It is a great step forward for all involved in this collaboration to see the support that the industry to giving to potential new leaders in gaming and esports.
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