Jonathan Elmergreen is the Executive Director for the Higher Education Video Game Alliance, the international professional association for faculty, students, and institutions that work in video games, interactive media, and digital media. In his work with The Alliance, he serves members of the games and higher education community through field building, academic services, public advocacy, and policymaker engagement. Under Jonathan, membership has grown to represent over 310 universities worldwide, and HEVGA has become a global leader and voice in games through strategic global partnerships with governing bodies, agencies, foundations, associations, and organizations and a strong network of esteemed fellows, scholars, and members.
Prior to HEVGA, Jonathan worked at the Games+Learning+Society Center at the University of Wisconsin – Madison in both executive administration and research, helping to implement the vision of the co-directors, Constance Steinkuehler and Kurt Squire. Here he strategically planned key meetings and events with high-profile leaders, oversaw multi-team projects, and managed large budgets and grants. Elmergreen’s academic background is in games and learning, social interaction, conversation analysis, and ethnography, and has researched areas ranging from games and literacy to interactions between doctors and terminal cancer patients. Throughout his academic career, Jonathan has received several research grants and awards, served as a conference reviewer, and been a leading member of numerous committees and advisory boards. In his scholarly work, he has been published in three peer-reviewed proceedings, one book chapter, and is currently working on multiple professional reports based on HEVGA’s work. He has given over 15 peer-reviewed and invited presentations and was an invited participant to the University of Pennsylvania Law School’s Institute for Law and Global Development ‘ideas festival’ in 2018.
While concurrently working at the Games+Learning+Society Center, Jonathan made a permanent mark on LGBT advocacy, activism, and policymaker engagement at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. In 2008, he led an initiative to overhaul policies within UW-Madison’s University Housing to address the disparity and isolation LGBTQ students, particularly trans students, felt in university housing. Through a years long process that involved garnering strong support from tenured faculty, chief housing staff, and campus administrators, he worked with a group of students to successfully lobby for the creation of a fully fledged LGBTQ and gender Learning Community with dedicated dorm rooms on its own floor and with its own staff, one of the first of its kind at a public university.
Outside of the university, Elmergreen has served as the president of a scholarship foundation to support college students, been the co-founder of a climate change carbon mitigation app, the director of a gaming convention, and served in AmeriCorps.