As esports becomes more popular, institutions are starting to really take notice.

HBCU students have been having a hand in the space with the help of organizations such as Cxmmunity. As previously reported by AfroTech, the nonprofit works to help Black youth not only be influencers and consumers of tech but also be beneficiaries.

“Our main goal is to get the Black youth hired within the tech industry,” co-founder Christopher Peay told us. “Eighty-three percent of African American millennials play video games daily but when you look at the video game workforce specifically, only about two to three percent of African Americans work within the space. We’re always the influencer, we’re always the consumer, but we’re hardly ever the beneficiary.”

He continued: “That’s one of the biggest disparities that we wanted to try and overcome, so we came up with these programs to create a pipeline to take K-12 students to HBCUs that then work or compete within an HBCU sports league.” 

Now, this HBCU is taking action to lessen the gap for Black students.

Benedict College Makes History

After two years in the making, Benedict College offers esports as a major — marking the institution as the first HBCU to do so — WACH FOX 57 reports. What’s more, the South Carolina college has launched an esports gaming room.

“It is a billion-dollar industry, it’s growing every year, and there is more opportunities, especially for African Americans and people of color in esports,” said Dr. Paula Shelby, head of the school’s HPER department. “We have competitions at Benedict College, as well as out in the community, and then we always get invitations to compete at a national level.”

What Students Can Expect

With the new degree track, students interested in the major are set to learn skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, cybersecurity, and more, according to esports professor Matthew Drapeau.

“In keeping with Benedict’s strategic plan to offer transformational learning experiences, our innovative Esports Administration curriculum is designed to prepare students to create new applications and to engage in all facets of the industry,” said Dr. Janeen Witty, Benedict College Vice President of Academic Affairs, per WIS News 10.