Lizzy Hall wasn't sure where she fit in when she started at Southeast Missouri State University. That is, until she found SEMO Esports.
SEMO Esports is the largest student organization on campus, after Greek Life. For many, the variety of people who are involved is one of the reasons they love it.
It still can be an intimidating thing for someone to walk into.
For Lizzy Hall, she didn't have a ton of friends when she started at Southeast. She wasn't sure where her niche was going to be. When she walked into SEMO Esports, she found her community.
She found SEMO Esports at the Involvement Fair first.
"They let me know they were having a Mario Kart tournament in the e-sports arena," Hall said. "And I ended up going to that and I met a lot of cool people, and from there I was a part of the club."
Since then, she's been all in. She even became an officer with the club to gain some leadership and communication skills.
She credits the members of SEMO Esports for making everyone feel as welcome as possible. Plus, there's a subgroup called Help People Feel Comfortable (HPFC) to support anyone who may feel out of place to start.
"It's basically for anyone that is not in the majority and feels like maybe they need a little extra help finding friends or anything like that," Hall said. "We close off the arena once a month and it's only open to HPFC members and we'll have a movie night, a game night, so they can come in here and get a feel for the arena and meet new people. Then, they're able to feel more comfortable coming in here.
"I feel like that's why we are the biggest club on campus, because we've created that community where everyone feels safe and comfortable in the arena."
SEMO Esports started in 2019. Since then, it's continued to grow. Currently, Esports sits at over 500 members. The SEMO Discord and Twitch.tv community have over 1,000 followers and members as well.
"There are some great positives in SEMO Esports, said Ricky Reed. Reed serves as the Esports, club sports, camps, and conferences coordinator with Recreation Services. "Whether that is the opportunity to compete under the SEMO name doing something you love, making important friendships and relationships while in college, earning valuable resume experience and leadership skills, or simply having a fun space to hang out and de-stress from a busy college lifestyle. In SEMO Esports, there is something for everyone and it keeps you involved at the University."
And it's a community that does their best to welcome all with open arms. They continue to grow year-to-year, including intercollegiate competition and adding new games to their repertoire each year. Their arena is open 24/7 to club members.
"There are plenty of big plans for this year," said Reed. "I could go on and on about the cool things we do and the passion we have to continue making SEMO Esports a great thing here on campus and in the community!"
Check out SEMO Esports and what they're all about.
Esports this year at a glance:
- Regional High School Tournament (19 teams participated last year)
- More collegiate competition
- Joined New Collegiate League Conference
- Added new games, like Counterstrike
- Hoping to add more, like FIFA and Street Fighter Teams
- Looking to host charity events, growing partnerships, revamping jerseys and website