Eastern Michigan University
direct edit

Forbes Interviews Zach Wigal, Marketing Major

Published March 27, 2013

Bookmark and Share

Zach Wigal is an entrepreneur extraordinaire. At the tender age of 23, the EMU marketing major already has been featured in Forbes Magazine; has founded a non-profit organization that raises money for charitable causes; and has spearheaded one of the Midwest's premier video game tournaments—Gamers for Giving.

Wigal also travels extensively working as a consultant and marketer for leading agencies and companies in the video game industry. In the process, the globe-trotting junior has drawn thousands of enthusiasts into Eastern's magnetic pull, enhancing the university's reputation in the entrepreneurial tech world.

"The main purpose of Gamers for Giving is to provide an outlet for the passion gaming enthusiasts have for titles like Halo 4, A Call of Duty Black Ops 2, and League of Legends, and give them an opportunity to come together for a charitable cause," says Wigal of the annual event, held at EMU. Entry fees from Gamers for Giving directly support charities, he adds.

But as participants come to campus and look around, many like what they see, leading to another benefit: a positive first impression. "A number of our volunteers, including myself, have ended up enrolling in Eastern because they were favorably exposed to EMU through this event," he says.

"The Student Center offers a scenic view and has all the resources an event planner could ask for, especially when it comes to hosting gaming events," he says, adding that the tournament helps to "create a positive narrative" for the university.

Gamers for Giving is the signature event of Wigal's foundation—Gamers Outreach Foundation. The foundation, a non-profit within the video game industry, helps fund building portable gaming carts for children's hospitals (dubbed "GO Karts") and sending video game care packages to troops overseas.

The gaming tournament features competitions for the hardcore video game enthusiast as well as casual activities for those who want to have some fun or support a good cause. This year's event, held in the EMU Student Center Ballroom, raised over $15,000 for charity and attracted a record number of participants—600—who came from California, Washington, Oregon, Georgia, Florida, New York and throughout the Midwest, to name a few areas. "It was our most successful event to date," says Wigal.

A live streaming portion of Gamers for Giving drew about 340,000 views. Adding to Eastern's exposure, Wigal's initiatives have been mentioned on Forbes.com articles, as well as other prominent news outlets.

"Over the last several years, the COB has worked to foster a culture of innovation and creativity among the student body," says Michael Tidwell, dean of the College of Business. "Zach is an ambassador of our efforts."

Wigal's entrepreneurial initiatives in the gaming industry take him around the country—and the world—several days of the week. This makes it challenging to balance a career with academics, but Wigal has received good advice from EMU's counselors, he says. "My counselors have been incredibly supportive in helping me achieve my personal goals, both academically and professionally. One day, I'll return the favor."

College of Business
473 Gary Owen Building
300 W. Michigan Ave.
Ypsilanti, Michigan 48197

Gold Award - Military and Veteran Friendly School