The University of California, Irvine became a founding member of Voice of Intercollegiate Esports this past week, in efforts to take a larger role in shaping the landscape and ecosystem of collegiate esports. The group aims to be the leading organization for colleges and universities that are looking to step into the world of esports.
VOICE and UCI are looking to join other collegiate esports leaders in discussing and working on the issues within the esports environment, expanding on the everchanging industry. Their mission is to shape the future of collegiate esports by “building an inclusive, sustainable, competitive collegiate esports ecosystem and creating a united voice for colleges and universities.”
“UCI is thrilled to be a founding member of VOICE,” said UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman. “I look forward to working with other university leaders to provide guidance to the nascent and exciting field of collegiate esports.”
With VOICE, UCI can provide programs with a wide range of resources, including networking events, enhanced student opportunities, and original industry reports and data that can help develop newly formed programs. As well as helping UCI’s own esports program, which started back in 2015, growing to be one of the biggest collegiate esports programs in the country.
Alongside Gillman, the school’s Founding Director of the esports program, Mark Deppe, will also serve on the VOICE board.
“VOICE seeks to represent the interests of higher education in the fragmented and murky world of college esports,” Deppe said. “It includes many of the best and brightest folks in our industry, including former UCI Esports staff.”
VOICE and UCI felt it was important to have industry leaders that were experienced in the field, with many of the members having started or worked with college esports programs. Some of the notable members include VOICE President Kurt Melcher, who started the first ever college esports program at Robert Morris University Illinois, and founder of Miami University’s esports program Glenn Platt.
Written by Carter Barnes