Connor Rauch, Bronco Esports' director of public relations, can be seen here gaming at the Winter 2019 Frag Fest.

Bronco Esports prioritizes community in shift to online format

Like many clubs, Bronco Esports, has adapted to remote instruction and shifted to an online format. But for the Cal Poly Pomona’s gaming club, its members have long been leveling up their communication virtually to stay connected.

While they are unable to hold in-person gaming events, the club’s executive board is hoping to foster connection for members new and returning.

“I want new members to have and feel a sense of community and togetherness at the school,” said Connor Rauch, a second-year computer information systems student and director of public relations for the club. “In my case, this club really helped me when it came to being social.”

Connor Rauch, Bronco Esports’ director of public relations, can be seen here gaming at the Spring 2019 Frag Fest.

Some students find it hard to network with others on campus. For Neel Parekh, a fourth-year international business and marketing student who serves as the club’s media team lead, Bronco Esports was a way for him to connect with other students before the pandemic.

“The club was very interactive,” said Parekh. “We would host a lot of events where we would work with each other, we would have a lot of students come out and we would just have a great time and give people a way to relax.”

Although members cannot play in person, they often stay connected via the club’s Discord server that hosts live talk channels, chat logs and even a video chat option. The club’s server currently has 1,800 members, according to Rauch, made up not only of CPP members but students from other campuses and non-students as well.

Through the server, members have kept in contact despite the time commitment of online classes.

Club members are highly involved in club activities and events such as Frag Fest. (Courtesy of Nick Lamborn)

“I don’t talk as much as I used to because I’m focusing on school, but if someone pings me or I’ll just hop in there sometimes and I’ll talk to people and we’ll hop in the voice chat and see how everyone’s doing,” said Parekh.

The server is an opportunity for anyone who is interested to join in and socialize with one another. “Everyone’s there to just have fun … it’s there for a fun time and if you want to compete you can, but if you’re not a competitor there’s still a lot of casual gaming and just getting to know people,” said Nina Fajardo a second-year computer engineering student and vice president of the club.

Before COVID-19, the club was most known for their Frag Fest event. This consisted of in-person LAN tournaments for a variety of well-known games like League of Legends and Overwatch. Now, Bronco Esports is hoping to host a virtual Frag Fest that they hope will be just as successful. The club also participates with other colleges and recently played in the UCLA Esports Summer Invitational tournament series.

The club will be hosting a League of Legends tournament on Oct. 3 at 6 p.m. and will be streaming it live on the CalPolyEsports Twitch channel.

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