Many clubs and organizations at Florida A&M University have had to host meetings and events virtually due to the coronavirus pandemic. One club has been able to stay connected despite the challenges thrown at them.
The Video Game Club gets students engaged in gaming through a variety of events and opportunities.
“The Video Game Club was formed in 2013 by students in computer science,” adviser Jason Black said. “It is a way to get students of all majors interested and excited about gaming through interactive tournaments and game nights, as well as seminars and workshops on design, development, internships and career opportunities in the field. Since that time, the club has grown to include membership in the MEAC E-Sports League, HBCU E-Sports League and the Black Collegiate Gaming Association.”
Since its founding, the Video Game Club has held more than 20 tournaments and workshops. They plan to increase visibility and membership on campus through activities and alliances with national gaming associations.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Black says they have been hosting virtual meetings and events since spring 2020.
“The Video Game Club meets formally once per month (every third Friday),” Black said. “Additional meetings occur with the executive board between meetings. All meetings and events are virtual and held on Zoom.”
Members have been able to use online platforms such as Discord and Twitch as ways to stay connected.
“The club has a Discord Channel used for additional planning, communication and live social events, as well as a Twitch channel for the same purpose,” Black said.
Like other clubs, the Video Game Club has dealt with the challenge of adding new members after losing some to graduation.
“The effect of the pandemic has been quite interesting,” Black said. “While it has not stopped the club from holding events, it has made it difficult to recruit and process new members. Thankfully, we have been able to keep a steady core set of students and have maintained, and even increased our momentum.”
FAMU student Nana Ama Marfo has been an active member of the Video Game Club for three years. Her favorite thing about being a member is the positive environment and passion for playing video games.
“What I do like most about being a member of the club is how close and FAMU-oriented it is,” Marfo said. “They’re welcoming to everyone. I do like how we have such a passion for video games, educating others and the culture of them.”
Marfo says she had to get adjusted to virtual meetings during the beginning of the pandemic.
“I’ve been used to going there every week on Fridays face-to-face,” Marfo said. “It hasn’t affected anything. The only thing is it’s not face-to-face, so we can’t do some cool things we want to do.”
Frederic Triplett has been a member of the Video Game Club since 2014 and just graduated last December. Triplett says his favorite thing about being a member was attending club meetings and game nights.
“Events like game nights for different themes or usual meetings where we would bring our systems and play games were my favorite part,” Triplett said.
Triplett says the pandemic made organizing events challenging at first, but it got easier as time went on.
“At the start of the pandemic, it was difficult to organize the competitions we wanted to host,” Triplett said. “As we got more accustomed to using Zoom and other platforms like Discord, having more social events became a whole lot easier.”