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The Ferris Foundation Exceptional Merit Grant Award: Esports

by Adam Jason
Student Marketing and Communication Assistant
The Ferris Foundation

Members of the esports team celebrate a win.

Members of the Ferris State University Esports Team

Since 2016, Ferris Esports has been an official club sport at Ferris State University. The club gives students at

all skill and ability levels a chance to compete and develop career skills like communication and teamwork. Team members connect with other students while developing confidence and a positive outlook on their future.

In addition to competing, members can also be a part of the Esports Production team. This team helps document, create, organize, and host weekly Twitch broadcasts showcasing the players of the esports club. Each esports broadcast is produced by this student crew and provides play-by-play calls and color commentary giving insight in-game. Jonathon Eaton, Esports Coordinator at Ferris State University, helps these students to coordinate all aspects of the production of these broadcasts.

Recognizing the growth of social media as a critical part of the marketing of esports nationally, Eaton knew they needed to create a comprehensive social media kit, containing up-to-date equipment and technology. To obtain this new equipment, Eaton and his colleague Andrew Peterson, Interim Executive Director for Online Learning, were awarded The Ferris Foundation Exceptional Merit Grant in the spring of 2022.

In their proposal, the team notes, "The current digital media footprint for Ferris esports is text heavy. Social media posts in larger esports programs are more likely to be retweeted and encompass a larger audience due to their use of high-quality images and graphics."

With the pending completion of the Center for Virtual Learning, upgrading Ferris Esports' ability to create quality engagement and recruiting opportunities comes at an ideal time. An anchor feature of the Center for Virtual Learning at Ferris State University will be the State of Michigan's first purpose-built  Esports Arena on a university campus. Construction is still in progress on this project, and the building is on track to open in the Spring of 2023.

The Esports team recognizes its place in an ever-changing workforce. From their proposal: "Careers in digital media and e-sports are growing rapidly; digital citizenship and developing responsible technology principles are as important as ever. To serve a rapidly changing economy and society, helping students navigate professionally and privately has never been more relevant."

Eaton is thrilled to use the new camera for showcasing students by creating high-quality headshots and intros for each player.

"It is a fantastic professional photography camera with some video capabilities. We have gotten so much use out of it already," Eaton shares, "Because it shoots such high-quality photos, we can make printable graphics. I would not have been able to do that with my phone."

Currently, the Ferris Esports club includes over 500 students, including 80 rostered student athletes.

Learn more about the Esports Team