By Gabriela Flores
After weeks of asking Brooklyn College undergraduates to vote for the Undergraduate Student Government’s referendum, the Esports Club is one step closer to getting funded by the college. Coming off their regular season and into the playoffs of the NECC, a collegiate video gaming competition, members are beating their competition in several matches.
Three out of four teams are off to the playoffs. The League of Legends team came out victorious against Queen’s University in Canada, walking away undefeated with a 9-0 record in the competition’s Champions Division regular season. Players of the Valorant team also shined, sitting at the #2 seed of the competition and are set to start in the playoffs on Wednesday, Apr. 19. Within the Super Smash Bros Ultimate singles, solo player “Reeduck” is on #3 seed heading into playoffs this Friday, Apr. 21. Though they did not secure a seat in the playoffs, the Rocket League players demonstrated a strong showing with a 6-3 record.
“They’re giving their all and again, that’s why we fought so hard for the referendum, to make sure they all get supported properly,” said Xander Raff, the president, director, coach, and player for the Esports Club.
As the teams make their way to scoring more wins, the USG referendum that proposed a $5 allocation of student activity fees to support esports on campus makes its way up the CUNY ladder. The referendum proposes several changes, including increasing the student activity fee for BC undergraduates to $120. After 55% of undergraduate voters indicated their favor of the referendum, with 16% against and 29% abstaining, it gained the support of President Michelle Anderson. The referendum will be sent by BC Vice President of Student Affairs, Ron Jackson, to CUNY Central with Anderson’s endorsement. The university’s top decision-making body, the Board of Trustees, will consider and ultimately decide whether the referendum passes or not.
“This was a big, big, big effort, that if everyone hadn’t put in the work they had did, I think we would’ve fallen short of the voting threshold that the school, the administration, likes to see,” Raff said, referring to the voter turnout threshold of 10% of the undergraduate student body that is preferred for considering referendums.
The potential funds could go towards building a PC lab that will be equipped with gaming computers that could be used by all BC students for fun and competitions on campus. It will also give competitors an opportunity to receive coaching and staffing to better their respective crafts. With these goals in mind, the technical aspect of sustaining gaming with BC’s internet connection became a challenge. Since all campuses are connected to CUNY’s internet service provider (ISP), the internet cannot sufficiently support online gaming. Without the means that will allow the proposed equipment and campus tournaments to operate smoothly, the Esports Club and USG were challenged with addressing the college internet’s latency, or the amount of time it takes for a computer to ask for information from a database server.
“In a video game, if somebody is trying to aim at someone else, and it’s about like who clicks faster, that is extremely important and a variable that can impact the E-Sports and Gaming Club,” said USG President Aharon Grama. “However, CUNY, as an internet service provider, that’s not really a priority.” CUNY’s ISP limits the download speed for students to 20 megabytes. To help support the possible PC lab, CUNY will provide a 10-gigabyte download speed to ensure the gaming runs with low latency, or lagging.
If passed by the Board of Trustees, the referendum’s proposal to raise the student activity fee for Brooklyn College students to $120 will likely go into effect in fall 2023. The Vanguard will continue providing updates as they become available.