Esports at LSU held a Super Smash Bros. tournament Saturday in the LSU Student Union and will donate the proceeds to an organization that helps homeless and at-risk youth.
The tournament included the games Super Smash Bros. Melee and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and was free to enter. Prizes including t-shirts, Wii U games, Nintendo Wii consoles, a Playstation 2 with assorted games and a Nintendo Switch were donated by the club’s sponsors and given to some participants. There was a $1 raffle, and the club was able to raise $669.
The money will go to the Baton Rouge Youth Oasis charity. It includes a youth center that provides emergency shelter, food, clothing, counseling and healthcare for children ages 10 to 17, according to its website. It also has a Transition Living Program which aims help to transition young adults ages 17 to 21 into adult life, as well as a Diversity House that provides help for people ages 18 to 24 who are on the LGBTQ+ spectrum.
“This organization’s mission is kind of to break the cycle of homelessness and create a nurturing place,” said Howard Tsai, a computer science senior who serves as Events Director for Esports at LSU.
This is the second event that Esports at LSU has held to raise money for Youth Oasis. At a similar tournament last year, the club raised $400. It surpassed its $500 goal for this tournament.
Tsai said the club hopes to make the charity tournament an annual event or even put it on each semester.
Esports at LSU’s president and computer science senior Cody East said the club is looking to do a charity stream in February for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
The club also regularly hosts non-charity events. Mass communication senior and Esports at LSU’s vice president Ben Hosford said the club is planning five or six major events this semester.
The club hosts weekly events and workshops, too. Hosford said new players are encouraged to attend so they can learn from more experienced players. Everyone is welcome, including people who have never picked up a game controller.
The 3-year-old club encompasses all game titles, so all gamers’ interests can be met. Hosford said that it is a diverse club that includes members from various demographics.
Tsai said Esports at LSU is a hub for both casual and competitive gaming not only in Baton Rouge, but in Louisiana as a whole. There is a huge gaming community in the state, although it is not well-known for its video games. Tsai hopes to bring gaming at the University to the next level.
“We’re in contact with university athletics,” Tsai said. “We’re looking to have a sports club."
Tsai said eventually the club wants to convince the University to have a varsity Esports team.
Gamers can connect with Esports at LSU by joining them on Facebook, Twitter, Discord or Tigerlink. Anyone is free to join as well as attend the meetings, which are announced on the club’s social media pages. There are no age restrictions for participation, and non-students are welcome.