Published: Jan. 30, 2024

Students, staff and campus partners cheered as Governor Jared Polis, a gamer himself, praised the opening of the Alienware Buffalo Esports and Gaming Lounge at CU Boulder. 

“My main game I play is League of Legends,” said Governor Polis to the excited whoops from students. “The skills you learn from gaming are really transferrable to other things. It’s about teamwork, it’s about collaboration, it’s about strategy, it’s about problem solving. Really a lot of the same skills I use as governor, I learned from gaming.” 

The Alienware Buffalo Esports and Gaming Lounge, a technology-forward space where Buffs can play their favorite video games and participate in competitive esports, opened on Jan. 25 in the University Memorial Center. It provides a place for students to not only practice gaming techniques, but also find their community in an inclusive space. It’s a space where, as Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Dr. D’Andra Mull said, it does not matter who you are—you are welcome. 

“When I think about student success, and all the ways we enable it, it really does come down to our ability to provide opportunities to students,” said Dr. Mull. “This is a Boulder IDEEA. When I say IDEEAS, I mean inclusion, diversity, equity, excellence, access and student success. That is all represented within our Alienware lounge.”  

Governor Polis added that the lounge gives opportunities to students who may not otherwise have the financial means to play esports at a high level. There are economic barriers to gaming, and the new space helps bridge that gap. 

The space includes 19 Alienware Aurora R16 desktops, three Alienware M16 gaming laptops, peripherals, a multiplayer console area and a broadcast studio. That technology, the construction of the space and an undergraduate scholarship to CU Boulder students was funded by a donation from Dell Technologies and Intel. 

“As we started thinking about universities that we wanted to partner with, it made absolute sense to do this at CU Boulder,” said Kristen Nolte, Dell Technology’s vice president of global consumer and small business marketing. “You all are already putting astronauts into space, 18 from this university. Tons and tons of Nobel Prize winners, Nobel Laureates. This is the perfect place where we wanted to establish ourselves.” 

Once the ribbon was cut to open the new lounge, students flooded the space to get a first look and try the state-of-the-art systems. Those students included many from two student organizations, CU Gaming and CU Esports, both of which have established a strong community on campus. 

“This is not just a building, but a home for our community and players to connect and compete,” said Jack Wadsworth, a student and the director of CU Esports. “Esports for me personally has been a momentous journey and life-changing event. I’ve learned how to build meaningful relationships, and applied lessons learned in competitive gaming to other facets of my life. I truly hope this space can help be an enchanting catalyst to help other people connect, grow and pursue their own potential.”