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The clicking of controllers and mousepads has become a familiar sound in the dorms at Olivet. Many students use gaming as a stress reliever when life throws curveballs or classes get tough. Aaron Goudie is a senior media production and communication major and music minor at Olivet College. This semester, Aaron is interning with the Student Engagement Office.

“Over the summer, Jason Meadows, associate dean for student engagement, got in contact with me, saying that the student body had recommended me for my previous work with the Smash Bros tournaments on campus,” Aaron said. “My internship consists of planning and advertising gaming events on campus, then running those events while upholding the College’s social distancing guidelines. This includes providing and running the gaming equipment, creating promotions for my events and planning special events.”

“I am very thankful and appreciative for Aaron’s vision in creating gaming programs on campus,” said Jason Meadows. “Aaron has a plethora of knowledge about games that I personally don’t have, so I lean on his expertise, and he does a great job providing activities.”

Last year, Aaron began hosting Super Smash Bros tournaments as fundraisers for Alpha Lambda Epsilon. “I talked to anyone who I knew that owned a Nintendo Switch or had Switch equipment and the Smash Bros game — I couldn’t pull it off without their help,” he said. Aaron worked with fellow Alpha E members Tori John and Donald Doyle to design and produce a 3D printed trophy that was unique to every tournament. The events also offered concessions with pizza, treats and drinks — all of which Aaron organized himself.

This semester, Aaron is responsible for running two weekly events: Jackbox Jam and Wii-Kend Gaming. “The Jackbox games are multiplayer party games that anyone can play just by joining on their phones. The games include drawing and voting on T-shirt designs, Apples to Apples and even trivia games,” he explained. “Wii-kend gaming consists of playing old multiplayer Wii games, such as Super Mario Bros, Mario Cart, Wii Party and Just Dance.”

Aaron provided insight into how he plans his events. He said, “Whenever planning a video game event, I look at two factors: first is hardware, then you look at software. Hardware in the pandemic is very difficult because we aim to have as few touch points as possible, while still being able to play the game.” His challenge was finding games that people could play either from their own devices, as in the case of Jackbox Gaming, or from controllers that could be easily cleaned, such as the Wii remotes.

Aaron enjoys the way video games can unify people. “It’s the mixture of creating this great, fantastical world and then allowing it to be a shared experience among many people, or it can be a very individual experience. Everyone has a different experience with video games, but everyone can enjoy a video game,” he said. “I definitely think there is a large population on campus that plays video games, but I would like to see the population in general come together more. When I go through the hallways of Shipherd Hall, I’ll hear a group of guys shouting about NBA 2K or getting excited about Call of Duty and laughing. I want more of that but outside of the dorms.”

Aaron envisions a future where gaming is embraced as a culture on campus and where students are provided a space to gather for the purpose of playing video games. “I would definitely like to see the College have a gaming space,” he said. “I’ve tried to set that up in my events where the Oakview Room in the Kirk Center is the gaming space where people want to go and have fun, but it doesn’t change the fact that the majority of equipment and software  is my own personal stuff. It’d be great to see the College invest  in some of that so students who can’t afford gaming equipment can still go and play together and hang out.”

During a semester of uncertain challenges, the controllers will keep clicking and students can continue to laugh together — because gaming is for everyone.

Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admissions at 800-456-7189 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.

This feature was written by senior Leah Miller, marketing and communications student intern. She is a writing and history double major and a music minor, a field commander of the Marching Comets and a member Alpha Lambda Epsilon Literary Society. After college, she aspires to use her writing to educate people about different cultures and work to normalize embracing differences, potentially in a field related to intercultural relations.

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