Mercer University students across all campuses are connecting in new ways since intramural activities have moved online.
The University’s intramural sports program postponed all in-person activities as academic classes moved to a distance-learning format. The changes were in response to social distancing guidelines to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, instead of playing sports in person, students meet on the web, competing in online sports games, like NBA 2K and Madden NFL Football, and board games, like chess or Settlers of Catan.
Over 130 students signed up to participate in the first round, which kicked off March 23.
“It was important to us when we sat down and did this that we tried to give something for everyone,” said Todd Thomas, director of Recreational Sports and Wellness. “A lot of people immediately think about video games, but there are a lot of other activities that can be done online as well.”
The format is simple and allows for participants to schedule games within their own schedule. Once registered, participants contact each other, arrange a time to play virtually and report the score by a set deadline.
“One of the greatest aspects of this to me so far is how we’ve connected students who would’ve otherwise never interacted,” Thomas said. “We’ve got students from the Atlanta campus playing against students from the Macon campus, and that’s just not going to happen during our in-person activities.”
Joseph Hwang, who is pursuing Master of Public Health and Master of Medical Science degrees on Mercer’s Atlanta campus, recently took part in a Settlers of Catan tournament in which he played against a staff member and two undergraduate students from the Macon campus.
“Playing games is something my family and friends have always done growing up,” Hwang said. “There’s only a small learning curve with playing online, so it’s not too difficult.” Thomas said the plan is for intramural activities to be structured on a two-week basis, so more activities will begin soon. Activities will include League of Legends, a solo Rocket League tournament, a two vs. two spades tournament and more. Registration is open until April 6 at imleagues.com/mercer.