At some other colleges, such as Baruch College in New York and American University in Washington, DC, students run clubs where they can compete at a college level. But many schools do not offer esports networking opportunities, and leisure activities are entirely student-run.
"We are taking a different approach," said Andy Phelps, professor and director at American University's GameLab, a level education program. "The teams here have been club-oriented and student-run, so it's not a direct university-owned and pressured enterprise."
At UC Berkeley gathered over a hundred students on Halloween to network with professional Fortnite players, Twitch streamers and an esports CEO. Panelists described crossing unconventional paths to get to their current jobs.
"Esports is such an unstable career path," Shen, leader of the student group, Cal Women in Gaming, told CNN Business. "It's the industry where parents are like & # 39; You probably shouldn't do that. & # 39; But it's nice that these companies are willing to set aside time to help."
TSM's efforts are led by its new head of human resources, John Ponce.
"There was no HR before me," said Ponce, who said he has received dozens of LinkedIn messages from students looking for a job in esports. "We're going to get most of our talent from students who want to come to esports."
Twenty-year-old Jayden Diaz, a Twitch streamer known as YourPrincess, is a college student whose career is flourishing by streaming her game in the evenings. She worked at Target over the weekends to subsidize her living expenses, but quit after two years to live full-time. Over time, people tuned in to Amazon-owned live streaming platform Twitch to watch Diaz play "League of Legends."
Although she started making as little as $ 1 a month of streaming, she built a massive audience and found financial success through user donations and subscriptions. "One day of streaming covered a month of working at Target," she told CNN Business.
She refused to share how much she earns now, but said she became financially independent of the family through the flow. She has brand agreements with Dr. Pepper and Xfinity, which her sports organization helped secure.
Students who stream through Twitch have an extra route to make money and start a career, but getting started can be difficult. Diaz's advice for new streamers is to stick to it even when few people are setting the clock.
"Once you have 10 to 20 people there on your channel, it's like a party," she said. "If there are only a few people there, [other people won’t] shows up. But if there are 10, 20 people, maybe more will come."
At the Berkeley event, Nicole LaPointe Jameson, CEO of Evil Geniuses, one of the oldest sports organizations, shared how she started in the business without becoming a player.
"I worked in private equity," said Jameson, who told students that her esports company is looking for talent in finance, marketing and business. "Where my strengths really fall is on the business and operational management of things."
UC Irvine was among the first schools in the world to build a specialized esports program in 2016. Mark Deppe, director of Irvine's esports program, told CNN Business as part The challenge in developing the program has been to address negative associations.
"Some people think video games are the scourge of society – and there is a huge generational gap between young people playing games and other people who think it's a waste of time," Deppe said. "So in addition to building this business and all the stresses that come with it, we have to address the righteous criticism and defend ourselves against the unjust."
Even when pro sports organizations open the doors to students, for many, there is still an element of ambition to work in games.
"It's a pipe dream for a career, but it can't hurt if I'm involved and put my foot in the door," said Julian Pagliaccio, 22, Berkeley senior majoring in mechanical engineering.