HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Harrisburg University is hosting the nation’s largest collegiate Esports tournament, The Harrisburg University Esports Invitational.
Players on 64 teams from over 30 schools across the county will begin arriving Thursday.
Esports is taking the nation by storm, and Harrisburg University of Science and Technology is at the forefront of it all.
“When you think about a science and tech university, it makes a whole lot of sense that we would have a commitment early on to Esports,” said Dri. Bili Mattes, provost and chief academic officer.
That commitment is paying off with the HU Storm becoming national champions in Overwatch, helping put the university on the map.
“What 14-year-old institution is going to get exposure on ESPN other than through the exciting world of Esports?” Mattes said.
Mattes says while HU is young, it’s continuing to expand.
“We’ve grown from zero to almost 7,000 students,” Mattes said. “We’ve grown in locations, both here and Philadelphia. We continue to expand our presence online”
This year, HU had its largest incoming class. Students hail from more than 100 countries.
“Half of our undergraduate population is female and over half are ethnic minorities, first-gen,” Mattes said.
“It makes me feel empowered to be a woman as a matter in a science field,” said student Ja’Nelle Wainwright.
Wainwright is a senior from Philadelphia, majoring in forensic science.
“I chose HU because I like their forensic path,” Wainwright said. “I like hands-on and most of our professors are detectives, coroners.”
HU offers programs from information technology to nursing, advanced manufacturing, and for Austin Bacon, interactive media.
“My dream is to work for National Geographic, travel the world, film all the animals, just get involved with all of that,” Bacon said.
Whether it’s hands-on experience through projects and research or achieving national success through Esports, Harrisburg University is making a name for itself worldwide.