By Theo Burman
Durham University has become the first UK university to form a collaboration with social purpose-driven eSports organisation LDN UTD.
Aspects of the agreement will include seminars and talks relating to mental health, digital skills workshops to bolster student skill sets, online tournaments, and offline large-scale events. There are also discussions for eSports Scholarships for degrees geared towards the industry to be put in place.
The move is part of Durham’s new focus on eSports, with the official SU Gaming society recently joining team Durham.
LDN UTD, which uses eSports to address social issues and promote health and wellbeing, is aiming to increase the opportunities for Durham students to develop their skills, learn about the industry, gain access to work experience opportunities and stay healthy.
The University also plans to extend support to competitors and people in the County Durham area who may be interested in learning more about eSports.
The group plans to develop outreach collaborations with schools and colleges in the local area to teach basic coding skills, working specifically with under-represented groups to encourage more growth in this area.
Director of Experience Durham, Quentin Sloper, said: “This partnership opens up some outstanding opportunities for our students and the wider County Durham community.
“Working with the team from LDN UTD and going head to head in competition with some of their professional gamers will provide a platform for our students to test their skills at the highest of levels whilst giving them exposure to the range of career opportunities, beyond competing, that are now rapidly opening up within the industry.
“We already have a long-standing, highly successful University eSports society, so I’m also excited to see how this partnership can advance this group of players and ensure even more success for Team Durham in the future.”
Durham University Esports and Gaming President, Lordie Bevan, said: “Working with the team from LDN UTD will help us develop our playing and knowledge of the eSports sector so much. This is not only important for our student members, but also for the wider Durham community.
“We at DUEG feel strongly about promoting a happy, healthy, and fulfilling community experience through the median of eSports here at Durham. LDN UTD’s support provides a great opportunity to combat the issues of mental health and isolation that have affected our community during the Covid pandemic.
The founder of LDN UTD, Oliver Weingarten, said: “The reputation of Durham University speaks for itself, and as we look to broaden the mission of LDN UTD, we look forward to partnering to support the students and engage a wider community.
“Education is a key tenet of the LDN UTD values, alongside wellbeing, diversity and inclusivity in the eSports space. We believe the industry specific support and guidance we can provide will ensure the success of Durham’s eSports projects going forward. ”
Image: LDN UTD