And they’re just getting started!
Howard University has recently launched into the world of gaming, the school’s Call of Duty team, “Cold Steel,” entering their first tournament last year as novices in the arena, Black Enterprise reports.
“We had no proper system setups, no proper equipment, we were even on dorm Wi-Fi,” senior marketing manager Deante Taylor told reporters about their humble beginnings.
This year however, they’ve come leaps and bounds, working with Verizon and Gaming Cxmmunity Co. to launch the school’s official esports lab, something team members say has helped astronomically, not only in terms of preparation but just in having the tools to compete at a high level. Recently, Cold Steel entered the Mountain Dew Real Change esports tournament in Atlanta, taking home an impressive $80,000 of the $500,000 prize pool, a major win for Howard and all HBCUs.
“The MTN DEW Real Change Challenge is an extension of MTN DEW’s commitment to investing and uplifting Black entrepreneurs through the MTN DEW Real Change Opportunity Fund, which launched in 2021. The MTN DEW Real Change Challenge supported Black gamers at HBCUs by sponsoring a nationwide HBCU esports tournament, in partnership with Cxmmunity,” a tournament rep explained.
Gaming Cxmmunity Co. has been very active in increasing diversity in the gaming sector. So far, they have helped 11 HBCUs build gaming labs in preparation for competition. In just three years, the company has expanded its network from two schools to 35, working on partnering with more brands like Mountain Dew to make gaming more accessible to HBCU students.
The HU team competed against 15 other HBCU’s, the team speaking of how their own commitment and pride for their school, helped them to edge out the competition and secure the victory.
Reese Samuel, a team member who also competes on the NEC champion swim team, flew back and forth to keep his commitments to both sports, speaking about his experience so far as a member of Cold Steel.
“Being on the team has been great. We have a lot of team spirit and pride in what we do. It feels good to be seen and noticed. Outside of that, I love the environment that the team creates,” said Samuel.
Here’s wishing HU all the best of luck in their future competitions! Keep going y’all!
Cover photo: Howard University team takes home $80k at esports tournament/Photo Courtesy of @HUStudentaffair/Twitter/Black Enterprise