Published: Jan. 9, 2024

Gaming LoungeThe University of Colorado Boulder and Dell Technologies are partnering to bring an elite gaming lounge to campus. The Alienware Buffalo Esports and Gaming Lounge will officially open on Jan. 25, 2024, becoming the first Alienware lounge in Colorado and the second collegiate facility in the nation. 

The new gaming space, which will feature state-of-the-art gaming systems provided by Dell’s gaming brand, Alienware, will provide additional opportunities for CU Boulder students to get involved. For both novices and experts, the gaming lounge will offer a unique and immersive space for students to hone their crafts as gamers, esports enthusiasts and athletes. 

“I am excited for our enhanced partnership with Dell to establish a high-tech gaming lounge on our campus,” said Dr. D’Andra Mull, vice chancellor for student affairs. “It is critical for student success and well-being to have spaces where our Buffs feel like they belong and can build community. The Alienware Buffalo Esports and Gaming Lounge is a valuable asset that will enhance the student experience at CU Boulder.”

An innovative gaming space 

The new 1,275-square-foot space in the University Memorial Center (UMC) will house 19 Alienware Aurora R16 desktops, three Alienware M16 gaming laptops, peripherals, a multiplayer console area and a broadcast studio. The space itself will also feel game-forward, with a sleek, high-tech décor that will be the envy of any gamer, from esports athletes to the casual gamer.  

For those not familiar with gaming, esports is a form of video game competition where players compete individually or in teams. At CU Boulder’s new gaming space, students can join the hands-on experience casually or competitively.  

The lounge, which will be managed by the Center for Student Involvement (CSI), will be available for individuals, friend groups and organizations. The space will also be set up to hold official competitions, so students can also participate as fans. 

“CU Boulder’s national prominence and thriving gaming community attracted Alienware to the university,” said Matt McGowan, General Manager of Alienware. “The growing popularity of esports on campuses offers students the opportunity to experience our products and potentially consider associated career paths in computer science and other STEM fields.” 

Funding to support new learning environments 

The Alienware Buffalo Esports and Gaming Lounge will be funded by Dell Technologies and Intel through a $1.2 million contribution to the university. That funding will go toward the renovation of the new space, the Alienware equipment, a display kiosk and grand opening event. 

Included in that gift is also an annual undergraduate scholarship to support CU Boulder students, reflecting Dell’s commitment to leveraging the positive impacts of esports to bolster education. Qualified applicants must be active participants in the CU gaming community, a member of a gaming-specific student organization on campus or employed at the gaming lounge. 

Having a dedicated space for gaming in the UMC will enhance CU Boulder’s dedication to fostering unique and stimulating learning environments, as gamification in higher education can help encourage collaboration, healthy competition, and organizational and spatial skills.  

“Gaming on college campuses is more than just entertainment; it’s a gateway to involvement and a sense of belonging,” said Erin Dewese, the director of the Center for Student Involvement. “It brings students together, fostering a community where they can connect and collaborate. Through the gaming lounge, we’ll create a space where any student can learn and grow." 

Building community and inclusivity 

With the launch of the lounge, CU Boulder will manifest the motto, “All gaming is gaming.” This guiding principle has two pillars: being inclusive of all types of gaming and being inclusive of all identities who want to participate. CU Boulder embraces gaming in all forms and seeks to bring gamers and their experiences from historically marginalized communities to the center of gaming.  

The gaming community is already popular on CU Boulder’s campus, with 15 clubs dedicated to different types of gaming, including esports, video games, tabletop and board games, role-playing games and trading card games.  

CU also has competitive esports teams, which have seen big wins recently, including winning and securing a spot in the USA Western Conference Final. The team CU Valorant Gold won that spot after making it to the finals of the Red Bull Campus Clutch Offline Rockies Tournament. A second CU Boulder team, CU Valorant Black, made it to those finals as well. In addition, CU students hold first and second place honors among Colorado’s Pokemon video game competitors, one of whom ranks among the top 100 in North America. 

The partnership with Dell will not only provide the university with a space for students to have immersive gaming experiences, but also support CU in continuing to strengthen that gaming community. 

CU Boulder and Dell have a long-standing partnership, with initiatives ranging from day-to-day hardware to strategic support of Research Computing and campus-wide Secure Computing. Marin Stanek, CU Boulder’s vice chancellor for information technology and chief information officer, also serves as a member of Dell’s Higher Education Advisory Board. 
Many campus partners have come together to support the creation of the Alienware Buffalo Esports and Gaming Lounge, including several Student Affairs departments, the Office of Information Technology, University Advancement and Facilities Management.