Socializing students through gaming!

Say hello to Sivert Arntzen, who is managing the brand-new concept: the Discord group. This is a sub-project in the Student Initiative Grant which, you might have guessed, focuses on Discord!

Sivert Arntzen is the sub-project manager for the brand-new concept: the Discord group
Sivert Arntzen is the sub-project manager for the brand-new concept: the Discord group

What is Discord?

- It is an online, social communication platform. You can communicate with groups of friends while playing - if you would like, but also otherwise. In a way it is Skype and Messenger mixed, Sivert says.

Discord enables you to communicate via text, voice, and video chat. You can use the service during gaming, and you can join servers that are often associated with different games. Therefore, Sivert likes to use the metaphor that Discord is like a house:

Discord is like a house, where you have several rooms. For example, you have a room dedicated to discussing news and others where you can sit and relax, Sivert explains.

New friends despite pandemic

Sivert started his studies last year for the first time. He faced closed libraries and few opportunities to get to know his own fellow students. As a Discord user since 2015, he quickly came up with the idea to create a Discord channel. It was named "UiO gaming", and an association with the same name was established.

One year later after advertising the association with some posters at the campus, the group had reached 600 members.

During Covid, Discord became an important social platform for many students. Through the association and the channel, I made a lot of good friends, he explains.

Now, Sivert will take it a step further, and through the Student initiative Grant and the Discord Group, the goal is to recruit all the students in Oslo and the surrounding area.

- The whole gaming community is enormously open

The Discord group does not only focus on the most dedicated gamers, this is a low-threshold offer and Sivert brags about an open and welcoming environment.

- If you are unsure if Discord is suitable for you, please do not hesitate to pop by and say hello! Members are always welcoming and will greet you. Everyone has the same mentality - the more, the merrier. Everyone is eager to get to know new people, especially after a year like this. The whole community of "geeks" is very open!

- You did not think it is negative to call yourself a "geek"?

- No! There is nothing negative about being "geeky"!

Every Sunday - for the rest of the year!

Sivert reveals that the Discord group have planned weekly events every Sunday. Finally, the quietest day of the week can be filled with fun, and he is certain this can be a long-term project.

I imagine this can be continued for many years to come and become a social backbone in many people's student life.

The group tempts with both Tetris and Minecraft tournaments with nice rewards, as much as movie nights and quizzes.

Many people think gaming is an antisocial thing. I think it's because parents see their children sitting inside playing and thinking they are not social. But online at Discord you have a whole world at your feet, you build your character and a network, Sivert says.

With digital platforms you simply log in, hence make social activities online a low threshold to join. It also makes it easier to take the first step to join physical activities later on, since your do not have to meet face to face the first time.

Lecture on young men's mental health

In the occasion of World Mental Health Day last Sunday on 10 October, the Discord Group is arranging a lecture on Tuesday 12 October. Jimmy Westerheim from The Human Aspect joins to talk about young men's mental health. 

Westerheim has been open about having struggled with his own mental health and has extensive experience of lecturing. It will be possible to ask him questions. Afterwards, there will be gaming and food - as you get a Foodora gift card.

The event is an attempt to reach out to an important group. Being present online, we are helping to lower the threshold, which hopefully contributes to a high attendance, Sivert utters.

He believes gaming is a safe arena for many to share about themselves, since one controls the topics based on their preference and it is easy to change the subject of the conversation. He considers this to be a particularly important arena for young men.

Sign up for the event here and join the infinite world that is Discord!