Three hundred people attended this year’s first local area network (LAN) event hosted by the People’s Organization of Network Gaming (PONG) at the University of Wisconsin–Stout. The organization’s new executive board showed they can handle the responsibilities of running the largest free LAN in the Midwest.
Graham Hervat, PONG’s president and a UW–Stout senior, notes, “The new executive members have had to learn on the fly, but they are doing well.” He has no complaints and is very optimistic of how this year will go. Hervat is one of the two returning executive members and previously held the vice president position.
“Our first general meeting went extremely well. It was the first time that I have ever had the meeting in the Great Hall. We had about 100 attendees,” said Hervat.
Hervat is looking forward to making changes that will engage more members of PONG. One of the changes is to have “couch co-op” tournaments during general meetings. “Small, very easily-accessible games to get more people introduced to being part of a tournament environment.” He hopes that this will encourage students to go out of their comfort zones and have fun with other members.
Another possibility that has been discussed is to have a tournament series for people that wish to have the LAN environment in between LANs. This would be focused toward the larger communities formed around the games “Overwatch” and “League of Legends.”
A change that has already been made is the updated PONG Facebook group. Community pages have been set up for various games. This is to get people talking and connecting to play their favorite games with other students at UW-Stout.
Hervat talked about how the priorities of the president is to keep the organization running and helping with the transition between years. “Turnover rates [for exec boards] on student campuses are high. Almost every 2 years.” He makes sure that executive roles are well documented to assist with the transition between executive boards.
This year’s overarching theme for PONG seems to be about forming a more closely knit community among UW–Stout’s gamers which could mean more involvement not only at the LANs, but across all of campus.