Esports college opens in New Jersey

Esports college opens in New Jersey

29. March 2023 by Andrew Williams

At Stockton University and Camden County College, students are learning skills that go beyond video games. The Cougar Esports Arena, which opened in January, has 1,600 square feet of space where all things esports are learned.

It was built to host intercollegiate Esports competitions and academic programs. This marked an important step for Esports in New Jersey. More and more Esports universities are popping up all over the world, laying the groundwork for education in this industry!

Study Esports in New Jersey

Camden County College’s William G. Rohrer Center in Cherry Hill is home to the new Cougar Esports program. Starting this fall, the college will offer an associate degree in Esports Production. Using Esports – or competitive video games – as a platform, the program will teach content creation skills that are transferable to other fields such as video production.

Sean Dwyer is the director of Camden County College’s fledgling Esports program and has said the program emphasizes practical skills beyond video games. “This whole arena is focused on making sure that the end product that we’re feeding into our streams is really of professional quality, so we’re giving our students the hands-on experience of working on that product,” he said.

Andrew Weilgus, executive director of the Esports Innovation Center, believes the region is in a unique position. “We have Atlantic City, which operates nine casinos, 17,000 hotel rooms and the rare ability to not only grow the ecosystem in terms of jobs, but also find that synergy with gaming,” he said.

University as an organization

The center is an independent organization based on the campus of Stockton University. Under the direction of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, it works with industry. Weilgus has said the authority was created to respond to a rapidly changing industry in hopes that New Jersey will keep some talent from leaving the state.

There are 12 esports teams at Camden County College. Each team specializes in a game such as “Rocket League,” “Super Smash Bros.” and “Madden NFL.” The college participates in two leagues: National Association of Collegiate Esports and National Junior College Athletic Association Esports.

Stockton University opened its own gaming space for students in 2019 and has been developing an Esports management program focused on event planning and hospitality since late 2021.

“We’ve been working on partnerships with the Esports Trade Association,” said Noel Criscione Naylor, associate professor and interim chair of the hospitality tourism and event management program at the university.

Naylor added that it’s similar to the program at Camden County College. Its graduates learn transferable skills to support almost any role within the Esports ecosystem or even outside of it. How many new Esports universities do you think we’ll see in the next few years?