DeSales Cuts Ribbon on Dorothy Day Renovations, Esports Arena
DeSales University is paying tribute to its past with a major makeover to the Dorothy Day Student Union.
Students, faculty, and staff were on hand as the bulldog mascot cut the ribbon on new renovations, which include an enlarged fitness center, a lounge area, offices, and a state-of-the-art esports arena.
During the ceremony, Father James Greenfield, OSFS ’84, president of DeSales, announced that the lounge area, which includes the Allentown College wall, will be known as the Centaur Lounge—a nod to the Allentown College Centaurs.
“It’s going to be a nice connection between our founding in 1965 and today with our bulldog,” Fr. Greenfield said. “The thing that I love about this: it’s all about students. And I don’t know about you but sometimes when I used to come into the Dorothy Day Center, I used to think it needed a little facelift. I think it got more than that so we’re very happy.”
The renovations were months in the making. In addition to the most visible changes, students will also notice subtle upgrades like better Wi-Fi and energy efficient lighting.
“The space was not efficient and was underutilized. We also took the opportunity to upgrade the HVAC system and put all new equipment in the fitness center.”
The biggest addition to the area is the new esports arena, which features 24 competitive PC gaming stations. Kevin Do, one of the team’s seven rostered players, developed an early love of video games when his cousins introduced him to PlayStation One. He’s been playing ever since.
“I think it’s really great that we’re growing this community and accepting esports more,” said Do. “It’s really cool to see how our University is one of the first in the Lehigh Valley to invest in this arena.”
The University’s newest varsity sport currently competes in League of Legends. Another game— Overwatch—will be added in the fall. To recruit new talent, DeSales offers scholarships of up to $4,000 per year for rostered players.
“It’s a huge part of social life for young people in general,” said Karen Ruggles, assistant professor and esports program director. “It’s really just trying to keep up with the times and support our students in their extracurricular activities.”
In addition to Ruggles, the team has a head coach and a remote professional coach based in Europe who provides pro-level experience and trains students on their specific positions.
“It’s very similar to a clinic—if you had a pro basketball player come in and teach the students for three hours a week,” Ruggles said. “Our head coach who’s here on campus will execute those plans and also be somebody here that they can talk to.”
Ruggles is currently working to cultivate an esports viewer experience for fans to watch games both on campus and remotely.
Apr 10, 2018