Gividen leading Husker esports through new phase

Thursday, August 3, 2023 - 1:45pm

by Matthew Strasburger | University Communication and Marketing

Z Gividen

Z Gividen, president of Nebraska Esports, is helping make big things happen for the community that’s transformed her college experience.

With more than 50 members, 10 new scholarships to offer incoming Husker gamers, competitions with teams from other Big Ten schools and approval to construct an esports arena in the Nebraska Union, Gividen, a junior marketing major, and her peers have a lot to look forward to this coming year.

Coming to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, Gividen never pictured she’d be leading such an effort. She was more worried about just finding a place to fit in.

“When I came to college, I kept asking myself how I was going to make friends,” she said. “I went to Big Red Welcome, saw a booth for esports and was like ‘Oh, cool — I’ll go talk to these guys.’ Since then, I’ve found a ton of friends.”

Gividen dove into esports during high school, finding a passion (and major talent) that quickly helped her find community at Nebraska. She soon became the outreach officer for Nebraska Esports, expanding the group’s presence in the community.

“I really wanted it to improve and grow because I knew it had so much potential,” Gividen said, citing the explosion of esports’ popularity in the culture. “All we needed was that little push.”

On Gividen’s end, that “little push” came in the form of the marketing and awareness efforts that she led, which precipitated a spike in esports enthusiasm from new and incoming Huskers.

“At last year’s Big Red Welcome, we got over three pages of student emails, which is so exciting because we’ve never had interest like that,” Gividen said.

The other “little push” came from talks with the College of Journalism and Mass Communications to create more structural support for Nebraska Esports, culminating with the approval to construct a new esports arena in Nebraska Union and bringing on former Husker football player (and avid gamer) Ahman Green as the full-time coach.

“Our biggest goal right now is just letting people know who we are and to make everything we do more accessible,” Gividen said.

Gividen hopes these big steps further develop the Husker esports community that has so positively shaped her experience on campus.

“Being part of the esports club has totally changed the trajectory of my life, brought me some of the closest friends I’ve ever had and given me a chance to become a leader,” she said.