When not studying or working, fourth-year sociology major Olivia Chung can be found relaxing and playing video games or being an active member of the Highlander Gaming Club (HLG). For the past three years, Chung has been a public relations officer for the HLG and has become a respected and loved member.
According to Chung, the HLG is a club meant to “promote and involve the campus about esports and the gaming industry.” She explained that as a social gaming club, they accept all students, hope to continue building friendships and to take the gaming experience on campus to the next level.
As a gamer herself, the club means a lot to Chung, who is passionate about playing games and surrounding herself with people who also love to play video games. She claims that the HLG is a “safe space where I can converse about my love for games with others like me.” Chung described how easy it was to make friends in this club and especially to find others to play with.
As a result of the almost year-long campus closure, the HLG has struggled to transfer to an online format and to get students involved in their club, like many other clubs and organizations on campus. The HLG has persevered despite the campus closure by hosting weekly movie nights, Friendly Fridays and online tournaments.
Most memorable to her during her time involved in the HLG is when she was in charge of the Artist Alley, an area designated for student artists and local artists to sell their artwork. The alley was part Highlander Con, a day-long, free gaming convention held at UCR where students can participate in a wide variety of tournaments, gaming organizations and lectures that showcased artwork from students and the local community.
Like many other students, Chung is reminiscent of the times spent on campus, pre-COVID. One of the things she misses most is walking around campus, attending in-person club events and the connections she made at UCR. “I felt more connected to the people I was with then,” stated Chung. The biggest disappointment for Chung is that she will not experience an in-person graduation ceremony, which is something she had anticipated for years. It has been incredibly difficult for Chung, and many other students graduating this year, to come to the realization that their family and friends will not see them walk across that graduation stage.
After graduation, Chung looks forward to discovering what her career aspirations are and hopefully traveling after it becomes safe to do so. For now, Chung will be expanding her small art business that began as a hobby. She enjoys making stickers, buttons, knick-knacks and art commissions. Most recently, she had the opportunity to make and sell custom stickers. Chung claims she will “try to continue doing artwork and I guess I will see where I go from there.”
For those interested in HLG, check out Instagram account @hlg_ucr and to check out Chung’s art, follow @mega.oddish on Instagram.