A little over a year ago HEVGA published our most recent report on program graduates. Today it is still regularly being used by administrators, faculty, industry, and government agencies. For more information or to read the report, please click here.
In the wake of the death of George Floyd and countless other black men, women, and trans people of color, HEVGA wants to reassure members that we are committed to diversity and inclusion, active intervention, and advocacy. In 2018, we published our Value Statement on Diversity & Inclusion, which can be read here.
Washington, DC – We unwaveringly support our LGBTQ faculty, students, and members and will always advocate for their right to be treated equally under the law and with respect in society. That is why the Higher Education Video Game Alliance resolutely opposes the Department of Justice’s latest amicus brief on Title VII aimed at restricting the rights of LGBTQ people to live and work.
LGBTQ people are integral to the games community and we would not have a booming field and industry without them. In order for our people to have opportunities to thrive, they must be protected from discrimination on the basis of both sexual orientation and gender identity and expression. Trans*, non-binary, gender fluid, and other non-cisgender people continue to have the least protections and face the most serious threats and acts of discrimination, particularly trans* women of color. The administration’s actions put existing federal protections at grave risk and seriously damages ongoing battles yet to be won.
The Department of Justice’s brief is in direct opposition to The Alliance’s mission to underscore the cultural, scientific, and economic importance of video games, as our universities and programs suffer when LGBTQ people are discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression. We are committed to our LGBTQ members and will ensure their voices continue to be heard.
Washington, DC – April 12, 2017 – The Higher Education Video Game Alliance (HEVGA) applauds New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan (D) for introducing the Reigniting Opportunity for Innovators (ROI) Act to help alleviate student debt by supporting young entrepreneurs to grow small businesses. Young entrepreneurs have declined while student loan debt has sharply risen. The act would help entrepreneurs reduce federal student loan debt by allowing deferment of loan payments and interest accrual as well as eligibility for $20,000 in debt cancellation by locating the start-up in economically distressed areas.
“We praise Senator Hassan for her continued support of students and recognition that young people are important innovators in business and the economy,” said HEVGA President Constance Steinkuehler. “For young entrepreneurs hoping to start-up a games studio or games related organization in the tech industry, student loan debt is a major obstacle and can result in delays or complete abandonment of a start-up for fear of defaulting on loans or not being able to secure capital above their own resources.”
“New York’s recent decision to offer free tuition to full-time students at two- and four-year SUNY/CUNY schools for families making $125,000 or less clearly shows the growing interest and need to address soaring student debt. Senator Hassan’s bill simultaneously works to alleviate debt while also growing our economy,” said Andy Phelps, HEVGA Treasurer. “Similarly, state-funded efforts to establish regional interactive gaming hubs at NYU, RPI, and RIT, as well as state support of the RIT MAGIC Spell Studios effort, speak to continued investment in university-based commercialization and entrepreneurship efforts. Programs such as these are critical if we are to continue the growth of games and media as a critical STEM sector of the national economy.”
“Our reports show that alumni of games-based programs in higher education do well on the job market, leading to high-paying jobs where the average salary for a full-time position is $76,200 and 82.9% of graduates describe themselves as “thriving” at work,” said Katherine Isbister, HEVGA Communications and Outreach Officer. “Many alumni go on to found or work in start-ups or small studios in the multi-billion dollar games industry, a driver of economic activity and innovation. The ROI Act would provide our graduates with crucial support towards alleviating the financial worry that comes with student loan debt and help encourage the growth of small businesses in the games industry, leading to a more creative workforce, job creation, and well-paid positions. We praise Senator Hassan for introducing this bill.”
The Higher Education Video Game Alliance (HEVGA) is the professional organization for video games scholars and programs at universities across the country and abroad. Our mission is to create a platform for higher education leaders which will underscore the cultural, scientific, and economic importance of video game programs in colleges and universities. The key is to create a robust network of resources–including unified advocacy, policymaker engagement, media coverage, and external funding–in order to incubate and harness the impact of this community in a 21st century learning environment. For more information, please visit www.hevga.org
Washington, DC – January 11, 2017
To my friends and colleagues:
I have a favor to ask you. Today, Arizona Senator Jeff Flake published his 2017 “Wastebook,” complete with Pokémon-inspired cover artwork. This document is in keeping with a long tradition of the Senator’s efforts to highlight some of the most outlandish government expenditures. In this year’s report, Senator Flake included Becker College’s Massachusetts Digital Games Institute and commented that while “coming up with new concepts may literally be all fun and games, doing so should not be paid for by gaming the taxpayers.”
As is often the case, this unfortunate incident was most likely born out of misunderstanding.
Many continue to be unaware of the important jobs skills training work taking place at our schools and colleges, and don’t recognize the many contributions the video game industry is making to the country, our workforce and our economy. With this background, here is my ask: Please join me in responding to Senator Flake on Twitter, and encourage your staff and students to help correct the record.
Please find several suggested tweets below. I encourage you to share one or more of these across your own social platforms.
.@jeffflake says @Beckercollege video game program is wasteful but Princeton Review ranks it in Top 5. https://www.princetonreview.com/press/game-design-press-release #STEAMjobs
.@jeffflake AZ is home to 40+ video game companies and 23 AZ colleges offer game programs. @beckercollege is in good company! #STEAMjobs
.@jeffflake Video game programs at @beckercollege & 400+ U.S. schools aren’t wasteful – they’re training a high-skilled workforce #STEAMjobs
.@jeffflake Here is a fact about higher ed video game programs: Grads make $24k MORE than average! #STEAMjobs
.@jeffflake mentions video game programs in waste report but programs at 400+ colleges produce skilled workers #STEAMjobs
(And for those of you who aren’t fluent in Twitter, the period before @jeffflake is intentional – be sure to use it so he sees your message)
If your colleagues, your school and/or your students choose to address the issue in your own words, please advise them to keep their responses positive—we want to remain educational, not confrontational. And to help keep track of all the messages, be sure to tag @jeffflake and use #STEAMjobs in any tweets.
Thank you for your help in drawing attention to the cultural, scientific and economic importance of video game programs at our colleges and universities.
HEVGA’s mission is to create a platform for higher education leaders which will underscore the cultural, scientific, and economic importance of video game programs in colleges and universities. The key is to create a robust network of resources – including unified advocacy, policymaker engagement, media coverage, and external funding – in order to incubate and harness the impact of this community in a 21st century learning environment. For more information, visit hevga.org, like HEVGA on Facebook, or follow @HigherEdGames on Twitter.