Lacey Casalegno, Amanda Preston, and Mattie Dickerson found themselves slightly out of their comfort zone.
These nursing students from Chippewa Valley Technical College found themselves sitting in the plush chairs of the new computer lab, logging into a gaming platform under the watchful eye of Erin Hazen, a student involvement specialist at CVTC.
Though none of the three nursing students typically engage in gaming, they are undertaking a project this semester to develop wellness and mindfulness activities for students involved in esports at CVTC. Part of this involves understanding mental health changes, Casalegno explained.
“Our plan is to return next month to deliver information to the students taking part in an esports competition. But we thought that we should try out some of the games ourselves first,” she clarified.
Hazen supported this idea and encouraged the three nursing students to immerse themselves in gaming.
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“One of the great aspects of gaming is that it can be inclusive and entertaining,” Hazen commented. “I believed that students working on a project about gaming should get to experience playing a game themselves.”
Hazen, who is a casual gamer herself, has played a significant role in introducing esports to the college. As of now, students at CVTC are creating an esports club, and Hazen will continue to enroll individual students in esports competitions.
Gaming has been a significant part of Hazen’s life, and she often spent long hours playing games with her brother in their childhood. Now, she, her husband and her daughter often bond over video games.
“Gaming has always been a way for me to connect with people in my life, and I am thrilled to bring these opportunities to CVTC,” Hazen shared.
Hazen has experienced the varying impact of gaming on mental health and noted that while sometimes it can be stress-relieving, it can also cause stress.