Valparaiso University Awarded Ball Venture Fund Grant for Gaming Center

Valparaiso University Awarded Ball Venture Fund Grant for Gaming Center

June 5, 2023 – Valparaiso, Indiana – Valparaiso University has been awarded a $25,000 Ball Venture Fund Grant from the Independent Colleges of Indiana to fund the creation of an on-campus Center for Games and Interactive Entertainment. The Center will act as a central space for faculty, students, and the community to share ideas and collaborate on games-related projects and activities.

The initiative to procure the grant was headed by Martin Buinicki, Ph.D., professor of English. Professor Buinicki is a part-owner and lead writer of tabletop roleplaying gaming company Gaming Honors.

“I’ve seen first-hand how powerful games are as pedagogical tools,” Professor Buinicki said. “Students light up. I’m also a game writer, and I know how many opportunities exist in the industry, from tabletop to computers. We have an interdisciplinary team working to develop the center, and this grant will help us bring the benefits of games to Valpo and the northwest Indiana community.”

Valparaiso University Awarded Ball Venture Fund Grant for Gaming Center

In addition to featuring an open gaming space for community gatherings, student groups and classes, the Gaming Center is planned to house a virtual reality space and a streaming studio. The funds will be used to identify the location of the center, design the facility, and purchase the necessary equipment.

The Ball Venture Fund Grant recipients were announced on Wednesday, May 24, 2023. The fund was established in 1998 by the Ball Brothers Foundation to support creative efforts in Indiana’s independent higher education community and encourage innovation and risk-taking by its recipients.

The development of the center is part of Valparaiso University’s recognition of the growing student and community interest in the gaming industry. The new center also supports Uplift Valpo, our strategic plan, which calls for the creation of an “unparalleled learning experience for students.”

The University’s Esports team has seen its membership go from 18 to over 50 students since 2019, and the English department’s courses related to gaming — Video Games: Playing with Stories and Writing Roleplaying games — have met with wild success. In 2023, the English, communication, and art programs will collaborate to launch a Game Narrative and Design minor.

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