POP-CON continues to showcase geek culture on campus

Jason Ninneman / Sun Star

POP-CON, a convention celebrating geek popular culture, will take place Nov. 5-7 at the Wood Center. This will be the fifth POP-CON at UAF, and will be the biggest ever, according to Erik Rickards, who coordinates the event for the Student Activities Office (SAO).

POP-CON started in 2010 as an idea from Cody Rogers, then Assistant Director of the Student Activities Office (she’s now the Associate Director for Programming). Then-student and SAO employee Ryan Bateman coordinated POP-CON for 2010 and 2011. He left SAO before the 2012 POP-CON and there was no POP-CON in 2013. Bateman, now a web developer for the Geophysical Institute, has fond memories of his POP-CON involvement.

“It gives Fairbanks a little slice of what they can’t get otherwise,” Bateman said.

When Rickards (the current coordinator) started with SAO in 2014, he was asked to bring POP-CON back to life and did so that year. POP-CON falls within SAO’s mission to provide for recreational and cultural needs for the UAF community.

The geek and gamer community in Fairbanks is, “A largely untapped market, and nobody else is reaching it”, Rickards said. POP-CON is not a for-profit event; SAO earns registration fees for vendor tables, but pays out more in speaker fees and equipment rentals.

The 2015 POP-CON will kick off with game night and laser tag at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 5, and continue in the afternoons of Nov. 6 and 7. There will be a keynote speech by developers of the Iñupiaq-themed video game “Never Alone,” tables from over 30 vendors, a visit from Star Wars stormtroopers of the 501st Legion, multiple video-gaming sessions, a cosplay contest and other activities. See Orgsync for the complete schedule.

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