The Wendy's in the Student Union was the unofficial place to game with friends at UNC.
But equipment had to repeatedly be set up and then taken down and scheduling proved difficult. To create a more permanent solution, the University created the Carolina Gaming Arena.
The arena, which had its soft opening in June, is located on the ground level of Craige Residence Hall. Easily distinguished by bright lights and a welcoming environment, it offers a new home for student gamers.
Kenan Poole, a senior majoring in computer science, has been a part of UNC’s gaming community since his first year, when he began playing Super Smash Bros. Ultimate with a group of friends.
“We’d been playing in the Wendy’s, or we were playing in the Underground," Poole said. "This year’s the first year where the gaming arena is open. Now we have a space where we can actually run our events.”
Poole said he is able to help out with Super Smash Bros. Ultimate every Sunday night in a place he can call his own.
“I love that we have a designated space that we can point to,” Poole said. “We may have been looked down on for being in the Wendy’s, just having a little bit of a non-official setup."
A permanent location makes events more accessible, not only for UNC students, but for gamers from other schools that want to join, such as North Carolina State University. Poole said being so close to Craige Parking Deck gives students more parking options too, especially on the weekends.
One of the ways UNC chose to promote the arena was through its resident advisers.