SUNY Canton Holds Inaugural Women in Esports Open House, Dec. 6

A women-only event to promote female participation in the traditionally male-dominated field of competitive video gaming. 

SUNY Canton WeSports, Women in eSports, will be hosting a women’s-only eSports Open House at 4 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, in the SUNY Canton Esports Arena in Nevaldine Hall South 133. The event is free and is exclusively offered to females of all ages.

“We hope to promote increased participation in eSports for women by giving them an opportunity to experience our incredible facilities,” said Courtney B. Bish, vice president for student affairs and dean of students. “The demographics for competitive gaming show a large discrepancy in participation between men and women. We are offering a welcoming atmosphere for both serious gamers and beginners to come and enjoy themselves without any concern of being judged for any reason.” 

SUNY Canton offers coed competition in eight games through the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC), with about a dozen female students currently participating in the program. The majority of those students will be attending the event to assist beginners, offer advice and playing alongside guests. 

Game Design and Development major Emily A. Oeser, the captain of the “Overwatch” Team, has helped the college grow female participation in the program. She helped lead the team to an ECAC Championship title in 2018 and a second-place finish in 2019. Oeser also orchestrated the first recorded collegiate all-women’s Overwatch match against Stephens College in Columbia, Mo. 

“It’s fantastic the college is providing time in our arena exclusively for women at an event hosted by women,” she said. “We’re looking forward to introducing other women to the games we love and having them explore our awesome facilities and incredible computers.” 

Oeser will be joined by other female captains, including Kasey L. Palmer who plays “League of Legends”, and Madison E. Cragle who plays “Super Smash Bros. Ultimate.” Both students are enrolled in the college’s Veterinary Science Technology programs. 

Guests will be able to play on one of the 25 dedicated Alienware Area 51 computers, on PlayStation Pro, Xbox 1X, or Nintendo Switch consoles. Funding for the program and its equipment was provided through a SUNY Performance Investment Fund grant designed to increase opportunities for online students. 

“We’re sending a special invitation to our female online students who want to join us online and check out our esports program,” said Molly A. Mott, associate provost and dean of academic support services. “We hope to reach an even wider group of students in support of our inclusivity mission, and we’d like to hold more WeSports events in the future. We’re looking forward to seeing community members, college staff and students, and high school and middle school students as well.” 

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