Student Center plans for addition of makerspace, esports center

By Kallie Cox, Staff Reporter

In the board of trustees meeting on Sept. 13, SIU Chancellor Carlo Montemagno said a makerspace and an esports center would be coming to campus.

(See more: Montemagno says many of reorganized schools are in final steps of approval at board of trustees meeting)

The location planned for the esports center and teaser makerspace will be in the Student Center where SalukiTech computer store was located until it moved out on Sept. 15.


(See more: Salukitech shuts down in student center, esports center and makerspace to replace

“I am really excited for this to be a part of the student center and to hopefully bring people into the building,” Tena Bennett, director of the student center said. “To have these great collaborative and opportunities and what not, and collaborative opportunities in our facility.”


Dr. Scott Ishman, interim dean for the college of science, said a makerspace can look different to everyone. The SIUC makerspace will have multiple functions, and it would be a place where those with similar ideas could collaborate.

“It is going to serve as an opportunity, a space for opportunities to evolve,” Ishman said. “Where faculty, students, staff and even members of the community can come together to come up with ideas on either new products or ideas on how to address social issues.”

Bennett said the majority of the makerspace would be in the basement of the student center, with a teaser space where SalukiTech was located.

Bennett said the makerspace would include various materials for students to use.


“Everything from styrofoam balls and pipe-cleaners to probably laser cutters and 3D printers,” Bennett said.

Ishman said he hoped the makerspace would be student driven, and while they can go to faculty or staff members for mentorship, he hopes students will be their own mentors.

Ishman said the business incubator, located on the edge of campus, would be willing to collaborate with the makerspace to help students launch their ideas and products.

Ishman said the university has not determined whether students will be required to use a fee.

“I kind of doubt that there will be a fee associated with it, at least initially, because we want to encourage students to actively participate,” Ishman said. “We do not want to pile fees on the students. That is not what we want to do because we want to encourage […] freedom of use.”

Ishman said he hoped they will have some aspect of the makerspace, up and running no later than the fall semester 2019.

Bennett said the space would be open to all students, but that there may be certain check out systems for various materials and machines.


Montemagno said at the Sept. 13 board of trustees meeting, SIU would be creating an esports center to compete in both intramural and intercollegiate competitions.

Bennett said the university is currently looking at charging a small pay-by-hour fee for the use of the esports center equipment.

“These are all computer and internet based games,” Bennett said. “They are high end Alienware Dell computers, with headphones and the specialty keyboards and mice and all those things that go with it, all the peripherals.”

Bennett said students who are interested in joining the esports competitive team for SIU should first join the esports club on campus.

Johan De Leeuw, the president of SIUC ESports, said students who wish to join the club should join the esports Discord server to find information regarding each of the gaming communities offered by the club.

“From there we will be adding Google forms to allow students to register themselves.” De Leeuw said. “If Discord is new to people then they are welcome to contact any officers of the group for help getting to know the platform.”

The esports club is currently running five active gaming communities.

“Our largest group would be League of Legends, second would be Club Rhythm, third would be Smash Bros, fourth would be Rocket League, then Hearthstone, and also Overwatch,” De Leeuw said. “We are looking for students interested in Fortnite and Counterstrike: Global Offensive as well.”

Esports competitions are mostly team based, however there are opportunities for solo competition.

“The goal is to complete objectives before the opposing team, and these objectives vary from game to game,” De Leeuw said. “The objective of each game requires different strategies and understanding, but ultimately competitive gaming is about outperforming the opposition.”

De Leeuw said esports covers an expansive range of varying games and activities.

“While esports may not be as physical as traditional sports, it can be more intensive mentally on the players,” De Leeuw said.

More information on the campus esports club can be found here.

Bennett said the student center plans on using the employees from the bowling and billiards section of the building to manage the esports center.

Montemagno said the esports facility should be fully operational by the end of the semester.

Staff reporter Kallie Cox can be reached at or on Twitter at @KallieC45439038.

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