Appalachian Nerd Network hosts 6th annual NerdCon

Ashton+LeBlanc+and+Sarah+Taylor+cosplay+at+NerdCon.+The+event+was+held+on+Saturday%2C+April+23+from+10%3A00+a.m.+to+9%3A00+p.m.+in+Plemmons+Student+Union.+Photo+by+Aaron+Moran.

Aaron Moran

Ashton LeBlanc and Sarah Taylor cosplay at NerdCon. The event was held on Saturday, April 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union. Photo by Aaron Moran.

Halie Hamilton

Six years ago Jessi Hustace wanted a nerdy community in Boone, so she decided to form the Nerd Network. To bring people together she decided to host Appalachian’s first NerdCon, Kyle Matheson, Nerd Network’s president, said.

Ashton LeBlanc and Sarah Taylor cosplay at NerdCon. The event was held on Saturday, April 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union. Photo by Aaron Moran.
Ashton LeBlanc and Sarah Taylor cosplay at NerdCon. The event was held on Saturday, April 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union. Photo by Aaron Moran.

“The biggest goal was gathering nerdy people into a single club and from there it just grew,” Matheson said.

Advertising for this year’s NerdCon consisted of chalk drawings featuring iconic characters. The artists behind this were current Nerd Network vice president Camilia Ekker-Runde and former student Aston LeBlanc.

“We included a drawing with each chalk advertisement, and we tried to draw characters that most people would be able to recognize, such as Pikachu and the Companion Cube from ‘Portal,’” Ekker-Runde said. “We wanted the advertisements to be eye-catching and relatable to our target audience.”

Matheson said that NerdCon is Nerd Network’s flagship event and it is getting bigger each year.

“We are getting more panelists and stuff like that. The first NerdCons were just about run solely by the officers of Nerd Network,” Matheson said. “Now we pay people to come here and do panels and discussion and stuff like that. We are getting more legit like an actual Con would be, of course it is hard with the entire Con being free but we are getting bigger and bigger just by word of mouth.”

This year at NerdCon there was a vendor’s room with 25 different vendors, a cosplay contest, panels, trivia, lip sync battle, the Video Game Ensemble club and other nerdy activities.

“My favorite thing is the vendor room, people come from all over and stay here to sell the stuff they crafted over the years,” Herman Li, a NerdCon volunteer, said. “It is very cool to see the same faces back here from years back and how they are still on their grind and making a living out of it.”

Matheson said that it is important for nerds to have a place where they feel they can express themselves and find more friends to connect and bond with.

Emily Chandler at her contact table where she sells jewelry during NerdCon. The event was held on Saturday, April 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union. Photo by Aaron Moran.
Emily Chandler at her contact table where she sells jewelry during NerdCon. The event was held on Saturday, April 23 from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in Plemmons Student Union. Photo by Aaron Moran.

“The community, that’s the biggest joy I get out of it, just noticing people that maybe you didn’t know were nerdy,” Matheson said. “You see people on campus all the time and you didn’t know that they were actually into the nerdy things you were. A lot of people find it hard to find other people in the community, so this is a way for everybody to be in one place and to find each other and establish connections.”

Story by: Halie Hamilton, News Reporter