ThunderCon Rocks ABAC

Picture of ThunderCon taken by Alexis Frazier.

For the past few weeks, students may have heard about “ThunderCon” through emails in their Microsoft Outlook, word of mouth, advertisements around campus, and the last two issues of The Stallion. As time progressed, more details were released by the Campus Activity Board (CAB), only exciting people more. Once September 9 came around, ThunderCon finally took place, and students wasted no time trying to attend. 

To summarize, ThunderCon was ABAC’s first pop culture convention held on campus. It was on the second floor of the Carlton Center from 10AM-6PM, containing attractions of all things revolving around entertainment. 

There were four booths that were open. First and foremost, because this was made possible by CAB, they had a stand to promote the club. However, there was another significance to this. If students scanned the QR code at the booth and completed the attached form, they would qualify for a chance to win a drawing held every hour where Shawn Burnette, CAB’s supervisor, would announce the winner and hand them one of many prizes, like a huge Batman Funko-Pop vinyl. Blaine Mitchell, winner of a “Digimon” action-figure and “Akira” Vol. 1, said, “‘Akira’ is a manga I’ve heard a lot of positives about, so having the chance to read something that many people consider one of the best mangas is pretty rad.” 

TigerCon, a Valdosta anime convention, held a booth to promote future events. Students had a chance to get free tickets by posting a picture of themselves with the mascot on Instagram and tagging TigerCon in the picture. 

There were also vendors at the event. Leslie Larson promoted her business, “Leslie Larson Art,” also known as “A Little Bitta Fancy,” and sold various things like “Star Wars” and Marvel themed jewelry, stickers, and paintings. When asked what her favorite thing to create and sell was, Larson responded, “I love earrings a lot, and I think it’s because I can do a lot more and it takes up less space. Jewelry gives me the opportunity to have more variety on a small scale.” On the other hand, Echelon Graphic Novels had a booth allowing students to buy four of their comic books, one of which was written by a representative at the booth. 

Taking “Star Wars” fanatics by surprise, the Georgia 501st Legion, a group of cosplayers, arrived earlier in the day. People had the opportunity to pose for a picture with fan-favorite characters like Chewbacca and Ahsoka Tano, as well as two Stormtroopers. As for those in the furry fandom, there was also a mascot that attendants socialized and took pictures with. 

Socialization was a major element of ThunderCon. Some students took the opportunity to dress for the event as their favorite characters or themes, which became a hot topic of conversation. “Do what you love, no matter what people say,” says Stella Humphlett, a student who dressed as Hu Tao from “Genshin Impact.” Other students gathered at tables and played card games like “Magic: The Gathering” or just a competitive game of chess. 

Toward the end of ThunderCon, three of ABAC’s faculty had the opportunity to hold panels on their favorite pop culture phenomena. First, Dr. Hans Schmeisser discussed the wisdom of Mr. Miyagi (“The Karate Kid”) involving student performance; then, RLC Naomi Chance talked about the magic spark that Disney carries; and lastly, Dr. Eric Larson acknowledged the importance of sociology in “Star Wars.” ABAC student Savanna Merritt says, “Dr. Schmeisser’s was my favorite because his was engaging in relation to student performance. As a college student with stress and anxiety, I like inspirational stuff.” 

In between Chance’s and Larson’s, voice actor Joshua Seth (“Digimon,” “Akira,” and more) was able to hold a Q&A panel. The panel was focused on the career of voice acting with Seth’s background over the years, the difficulty and satisfaction associated with it, and the versatility of it. After Seth answered some common questions, students were able to line up and ask their own. Once the panel closed, students were able to receive autographs and take a picture with Seth, which would become one of the most valuable once-in-a-lifetime opportunities they’ve ever had. 

Overall, ThunderCon was a massive success. Celebration of pop culture is an entertaining and interesting way to show the importance of iconic works, associated ideals, and most importantly: Have fun. With the amount of fun that was had this year, hopefully the next ThunderCon will be bigger, more fun, and have more exciting feats that students can enjoy. 

Tai Goodman is a Writing and Communication major at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College from Tifton, Georgia who works as a Staff Writer at The Stallion. Their dream is to become either an author, a screenplay writer, or a film director, and their hobbies are writing books, and playing old video-games. Winner of 2nd place for "Best Entertainment Story" at the Athens GCPA Conference 2023.

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