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Bentley student wearing headset and gaming
Photo by Caleb Gowett

The Bentley Student Gaming Organization (BSGO) was founded more than two decades ago, when four roommates borrowed computers from the former Lindsay computer lab and put GPUs (graphics processing units) into them to hold LAN (local area network) parties. Today, BSGO is one of the university’s fastest-growing student organizations — with more than 325 members officially registered on campus and about 450 people on its Discord server — and student interest in taking gaming to the next level led to the official launch of Bentley’s esports competitive teams in fall 2023.   

Back in 2007, the biggest BSGO event was hosting a non-competitive Guitar Hero night. Over the years, events have grown to focus on both recreational and competitive gaming — mostly on Friday afternoons.  

“The group really expanded and came into its own as one of the largest student organizations on campus after the pandemic years,” says BSGO co-president Alyssa Choo ’25, a Computer Information Systems (CIS) major. In 2023, BSGO won the university’s Organization of the Year award.  

Distinguished Lecturer in Computer Information Systems Mark Frydenberg, who has served as the organization’s faculty adviser since 2007, has witnessed the group’s progression firsthand. “As technology evolved, the group advanced to multi-player networked games and VR games, and they still host game nights for new and experienced gamers. Their Discord server now hosts channels on topics from serious esports to free games, as well as photos from events and of members’ pets. With all of that, and by providing a place for new members to introduce themselves, BSGO has grown from an exclusively in-person organization to also become an engaged online community.”

Bentley Student Gaming Organization members at a local tournament
Photo courtesy of BSGO.


The goal for that community is founded in inclusivity: to provide safe, fun gaming and gaming-related activities to the students of Bentley; to promote the art of gaming; and to be an advocate, both on-campus and off-campus, for the causes of gamers.  

“The mission of BSGO is to use video games to build a community based on respect and having fun no matter who you are,” Choo says. “We try to make sure everyone is welcome, and people know they don’t need to be good at video games to join the community. We’ve even had events where we teach you how to play different video games that may be hard to get into due to issues like information and technology gaps.” 

Adding the intercollegiate server allowed BSGO to communicate with other esports teams and gaming clubs. Choo is among the members who play non-competitively; others compete in tournaments — normally hosted by the National Association of Collegiate Esports. Bentley students have also attended the MIT Gaming Conference, an event to engage students and industry professionals in conversations, share stories and explore new ideas in the gaming industry.   

“When we were looking to build BSGO, we had to pitch our idea, find people to support us, look for tournaments and manage our budget,” Choo says. BSGO works with local businesses to get discounts, free items, guidance and connections. “The process has really helped me apply what I’ve learned in class to real-life situations with real-life setbacks. I never thought that I would be talking with businesses about partnerships and deals as a student.” 


The fall 2023 launch of Bentley’s competitive esports teams, part of the Athletics program, was informed by Ajit Mehrotra ’24, who served as BSGO co-president in in 2022 and spring 2023 and is currently BSGO senior adviser.  

“Until recently, Bentley esports had been a competitive community in BSGO with members who have played games competitively with BSGO for years” Mehrotra says, noting one of the first teams was Valorant, started by Jack Foster ’23. “Jack had a big part in the creation of esports alongside me. While I did a lot of the administrative tasks, he was the one spearheading the most successful esports teams on campus (and in the Boston region), which helped us make inroads with Bentley Athletics. Jack was one of the best players in the nation at the time and helped coach players.” 

With the support of Assistant Athletic Director Dana Trivigno, Mehrotra and then co-president Adam Clarke ’22, MSF ’23 created a gaming community and raising awareness of BSGO: training the team, hosting and marketing events and creating an intercollegiate presence. Mehrotra shares more about the process: “We had to learn how to create an esports program from the ground up — including community building, sponsorships and relationships with businesses and meetings with our team, students, faculty, industry professionals and advisers — all while creating an inclusive community as the gaming industry was known for being an uninviting and unsafe place for women.”  

The pair was successful, creating strong BSGO esports teams for Valorant, Rocket League and League of Legends. “People and administration knew about us, and I made various pitches for esports.”

We had to learn how to create an esports program from the ground up — all while creating an inclusive community.
Ajit Mehrotra ’24
BSGO Co-President (2022-2023) and Senior Adviser (2024)

About a year later, Trivigno and Assistant Director of Intramural and Competitive Sports Trey Samuels created esports as an official competitive team under Bentley Athletics. Esports teams generally practice once or twice a week, playing against each other and outside school teams.  

Edgar Campos ’25, co-manager of esports, says the exact format of competitions varies between game titles. “Some games like Overwatch, Valorant and League of Legends mirror traditional sports league formats with a regular season and post-season playoffs. With this format, several top-placing teams during the regular season qualify for playoffs and usually the top four teams at playoffs win prizes. Games like Super Smash Bros. have an open circuit format, where competitions are held in various major and minor tournaments.  

Bentley’s strong reputation with esports in the Boston area has earned the team participation in invitational tournaments. In a recent tournament hosted by Boston University in fall 2023, Bentley placed second out of seven colleges and universities.

“After the games, teams hold a VOD (video on demand) review where they look at the replay of the game to better understand what areas of the game they could improve in,” says Campos, who is majoring in Data Analytics and applies technical skills to the game. “Last semester, our League team was going into our online playoff finals against another university that had previously defeated us in the beginning of the regular season. Going into this playoff finals match I did a lot of studying on what their team tendencies are, trying to predict their tactics and coming up with our own to counter what they were trying to do. We came very prepared for our game, and we had a good showing. Like traditional sports, there is a lot of value with esports analytics.” 

But Campos isn’t the only one getting a behind-the-scenes look at esports: In spring semester 2024, as part of a Bentley-Celtics partnership, Bentley students in a corporate immersion course with Senior Lecturer in Marketing Erin Flynn worked with management from CLTX Gaming — the professional esports team affiliated with the Boston Celtics — to plan the Boston region’s first-ever collegiate NBA 2K24 championship tournament. By analyzing industry trends and applying their own business knowledge, the students had the opportunity to analyze how CLTX can reach new markets and grow its audience in an emerging industry. Student organizations like BSGO helped promote events and offered insight into logistics for the in-person championship held on campus in Harry’s Pub. 

RELATED: Students work with Celtics Gaming to plan NBA2K tournament


The National Institutes of Health reported on the importance of social videogame play for remaining connected to others early in the COVID-19 pandemic: “While social isolation and loneliness negatively affect well-being, social interaction is important for positive outcomes. During the pandemic, online videogame play has offered a safe outlet for socialization.” 

A Digital Media Trends Survey by Deloitte found that “gamers agree that playing video games provides social and emotional value and makes them feel like they are part of the story rather than just viewers” and “almost half of Gen Z and millennial gamers say they socialize more in video games than in the physical world.” 

Campos agrees with the data. “While gaming by yourself may not be the most social activity, esports and playing with a team is very social. Esports at Bentley has brought together many different groups of people and created many genuine friendships. We all share a love of video games and competition. You really get to know someone when you work with them for a semester toward a shared goal.” 

Doing that, he adds, takes more than just good gaming talents. “A ton of soft skills are transferable to esports. Being on an esports team requires a lot of teamwork, so good communication and problem-solving is important to create a good, healthy team environment.” 

BSGO holds social events, both on- and off-screen. “When we’re not gaming, we love getting together for events like our holiday party — painting ornaments and decorating cookies — and an ultimate game night with board games and ping pong,” Choo says. “We also partner across the Bentley community. A great example is a pay-to-play FIFA tournament that we hosted with the esports team and Brazilian Student Association.” 

Members of Bentley Student Gaming Organization and the Esports team
Esports and BSGO members have created a strong community. Photo courtesy of BSGO.

Jack Grogan ’24 — who transferred to Bentley his sophomore year and credits BSGO in helping with that transition — served as co-president with Choo and helped spearhead a BSGO inclusion event that included partnering with 10 identity organizations across campus. “It was a huge steppingstone to helping further build diversity, and something we want to continue to build upon.”  

In March 2023, BSGO organized a flagship “Women in Gaming” conference in the Student Center featuring keynote speaker and former Bentley student Rumay Wang (Hafu), who is a leading figure among women in professional gaming. 

“I was among students on the BSGO e-board who were able to get together and make plans for the event while discussing issues women face in the industry,” Choo says. “We had support from Bentley professors who promoted the event to their students, and from Bentley’s Center for Women in Business about considering how women in the industry are affected by societal standards. Even though female gamers are on the rise, the gaming industry has been traditionally male-dominated and can be uninviting for women, so this event was empowering.” 

For Choo, BSGO all comes back to creating a sense of community. “I want to learn as much as I can about gaming and the esports industry because playing video games is my hobby, but it also brings people together and makes them happy.” 

Grogan is excited to see BSGO develop even further. “Bentley has helped us push gaming in a tremendous fashion. We’ve been able to secure more sponsorships and have gained access to intercollegiate tournaments. Additionally, we’ve connected with BSGO alumni from more than two decades ago. Creating a strong community of alumni and students has provided an opportunity to learn more about BSGO’s history but is also paving the way for the future.”