National Esports Honors Society
Most colleges house their esports programming under athletics, isolating participants as student-athletes and indicating their intent to make esports a profit center for the institution. This is misguided at best and damaging at worst. Even with in-house support staff, care teams, and even dedicated academic programming, the decision to silo their esports programming in any way has a tangible effect on the tenor of the program into the future.
Esports are More than Sports
While the core of esports is competition, everything that surrounds it is what makes esports, esports. Most people will never rise to the top of the competition for any title, and that’s okay. But with the current state of esports, there’s little support for students who are interested in esports outside of competition and sports management.
What we need is an ecosystemic approach to bringing holistic programming into collegiate esports programs wherever they may be to ensure students are exposed to the support they need to succeed. Colleges are anchor institutions for their communities. We must seize this opportunity and anchor the industry in our colleges.
This is Why We're Building the NEHS
The National Esports Honors Society (NEHS) is an out-of-school-time add-on program for college esports programs that exposes students to education, mentorship, and training in project and simulation-based settings. By socializing our students to their peers, their communities, and to the professional world, we believe that we can achieve a more holistic esports industry for us and our posterity, placing the United States at the fore of global esports and building a more equitable future for our students, this industry, and our country as a whole.
Module 1 focuses on media and information literacy within the esports context, particular to North America and college students both in and outside the classroom. On completion, students will demonstrate awareness and knowledge of MIL issues in esports and show behavioral changes in their media and information consumption, processing, and decision-making.
An overriding focus of the NEHS is pairing students with their peers and their elders. In order to facilitate the creation of organic social capital, and to thereby professionalize knowledge transfer within the industry, students will match with others in their program and industry professionals who will serve as their partner throughout the academic year (and life thereafter).
Module 2 socializes students to their communities as well as our democratic civic structures. Esports doesn’t live in a bubble, and neither do colleges or students. To embed our industry in our communities and our democracy, students will lead their own community and civic engagement projects. We only require that they integrate esports into whatever they do.
Module 3 prepares students for professional life outside college and esports. While some opportunities exist, more students won’t work in esports post-graduation. To prepare them for the world, we’re crafting structured, plug-and-play internships, building career prep toolkits to make the transition as smooth as possible, and orienting them towards resources around campus.
Piloting AY 23-4 // Launching AY 24-5