Esports launches at Chatham with the start of new club


Josie Barton

Applied Data Science student and Residential Assistant, Chris Szarka ‘26 has quickly found his niche as the founder of Chatham’s new esports club after transferring from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown.

Esports are multiplayer video games where players compete in professional or recreational leagues or teams. Equipment can range from iphones to comprehensive PC setups.

Szarka first expressed his interest in esports and competed in leagues through his high school team.

Noticing Chatham’s lag in esports involvement, and with the rise of college esports leagues, Szarka decided it was Chatham’s turn to take a shot at the trend.

Szarka crafted the idea alongside the anticipated Vice President of the esports club Korbin Nevius ‘25. Nevius is part of the growing immersive media program at Chatham.

Other nearby schools have exploited the rise of esports leagues. Szarka looked into the format of Point Park University and Carnegie Mellon University’s esports leagues to spark a friendly fire with potential teammates or competitors.

“We would like to get into fairly competitive leagues. There’s actually a college league [National Esports Collegiate Conference] that we would like to get involved in once we get proper teams,” Szarka said.

He anticipates playing competitive and non-competitive games such as Valorant, Counter-Strike: Global Offense (CSGO), Fortnight, Minecraft, Rocket League and Overwatch. 

“Most games have a competitive scene… and we can really add any game anyone wants to suggest,” Szarka mentioned. “You can use phones, laptops, a PC setup, and [Nintendo] switch to play.”

With hopes of eventually receiving school funding for his new club so there will not be a large cost for members when they compete, Szarka’s end game is to hold competitive tournaments while farming community involvement.

“[Students] don’t need much experience or even need to compete. It’s more of a place to meet up with other people that like playing video games or like esports in general…to find other people on campus that have similar interests,” Szarka said.

He encourages all students that are interested to attend the club’s first meeting on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7 p.m. in the Carriage House.

Students can join the club’s discord through QR codes on posters around campus or contact Szarka at his email: [email protected] or via his Instagram @c.szerka.