Michigan State University presented me with several opportunities to go above and beyond what the game design and information technology tracks offered me; among them were memberships to groups and responsibilities I had to fulfill. Though some of the groups were “just for fun,” I still learned valuable concepts from participating and attending events.
At SpartyLANParty, I learned the problems and issues with attempting to provide network and power to a large group of people as well as the difficulties with establishing and maintaining events. Spartasoft helped me develop my ability to rapidly prototype ideas into functioning products. ASCOT gave me valuable experience with networking and job seeking as well as contacts in the local Lansing area.
My participation in these groups is every bit as important as my role in completed projects; without them, I’d be less ready than I am for my professional career.
Staff (2008-2010) / Staff Alumni (2010-Present)
SpartyLANParty is a group of PC gamers who meet about twice a semester to play games together. It was founded in January of 2007 by two Michigan State students and mostly attracts current and former Michigan State University students; even so, anyone can attend.
The organization takes care of the venue, food, power and network issues for $10-$15 an event from attendees; event attendees are asked only to bring their computers (and if age restrictions apply, a parental guardian to supervise them).
While I was initially only an attending member of the group, I was eventually admitted as a member of the staff. My duties included setting up and tearing down events, managing tournaments and moderating our online forums (http://www.spartylanparty.com/forum/index.php). After graduating from Michigan State, my title was amended to “Staff Alumni.” I still help moderate and keep the forums clean as well as setting up and tearing down events.
A Game Design track is not the only opportunity Michigan State offers to its students. “Spartasoft” is a student-run game development group advised by the Undergraduate Director of the Game Design track, Brian Winn. Events include “game jams,” 48-hour-long events where students attempt to design and develop their own game according to a specific theme announced at the beginning of the game jam; Spartasoft also hosts speakers, runs elections for student representatives and even works with students to help them attend game development conferences.
My duties as a member were to vote on issues, attend game jams and be involved in the group. I’m not a member currently as I’ve graduated from Michigan State and only current students are allowed to participate.
Member (2008-2010) / Most Distinguished Member (Fall of 2009)
The “Associated Students for Career Orientation in Telecommunications” (or ASCOT for short) originally existed for students who were interested in Information Technology careers. It has broadened its scope to any who are interested in media studies, particularly web design, tv/film, music and even game development. ASCOT is advised by Dr. Constantinos Coursaris but remains student-run; members pick their e-board representatives each year as a part of the group’s duties. The group plans activities such as tech tours and networking events for its members.
While at ASCOT, I attended Tech Tours and Convergence, ASCOT’s networking event aimed at connecting students with professionals. In 2009 I was awarded the “Most Distinguished Member” for that semester for my participation in the group’s events and activities. Membership is still open to me but due to work problems, I was not able to attend ASCOT’s Capitol Area IT Tech Tour this year.