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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
The Observer

LepreCon is a paradise for students of all backgrounds and interests

Makayla Hernandez
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With the beginning of winter, campus feels notably different. The snow carpeting the ground is hauntingly beautiful. The frigid air has me perpetually hidden beneath layers of blankets. The end of football season marks a shift in focus to other thrilling events.

One such event is LepreCon, Notre Dame’s annual cross-club convention. This year’s LepreCon, which took place on Jan 22 from 6:00-10:00 p.m. in the Dahnke Ballroom, was not only an entertaining Saturday night escapade, but also a way for the student community to share its diverse talents and interests. Featuring a cosplay contest, Smash Ultimate (Super Smash Bros. Ultimate) tournament and student art, the convention represents Notre Dame’s status as a multi-faceted school whose students have interests beyond academics and athletics. A wide variety of clubs — among them, the Role Playing Game Club, Science Fiction Fantasy Club, Board Game Club and Japan Club — collaborated to organize and host the event, each with their own booth.

Walking into the Dahnke Ballroom, I was immediately drawn to Artist Alley, where student artists sold everything from cute laptop stickers to entire canvases marked with sheer beauty. It was inspiring to see my peers showcase their talents and to learn more about their craft — even if it hurt my wallet.

Artist Alley was also important as a vehicle for artists to connect with one other and to receive support from the other students in attendance. Paulina Rosiles, a Studio Art and Economics double major, was one of the courageous artists who shared their talents with the community.

“It surprised me how many people took interest in my art,” she said. “I was amazed by all the artworks by all the participants, especially when I was already acquainted with a few but never knew what they were capable of.”

Of course, amazing art was not all the convention had to offer. There was also a (somewhat unusual) contest taking place. Being a Smash Ultimate veteran myself, it was incredibly intriguing to study the way other students approached the fighting game through the tournament. For participants James Lindell and Trent Silva, the best part of the competition was meeting other Smash players.

“I played a lot of Smash in high school, but I haven’t really been able to as much here. So it was nice to play against and meet other people who were as into the game as I was,” Silva said.

Lindell expressed a similar sentiment: “It was also really awesome to see other people who were interested in the game. It makes me want to set up more Notre Dame tournaments and foster the community I enjoy being a part of.”

LepreCon presented the opportunity to pick up a plethora of skills, from learning to play new board games to drawing in the art style of Japanese manga. I most enjoyed trying out the card game “Magic: The Gathering,” in which players battle each other with sorcery and creatures.  Having not touched a complex card game in years, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to grasp the rules at all. However, after getting the hang of the basics, I started to really appreciate the game’s strategic elements.

For the event’s student organizers, being able to share their passions with the community was a deeply rewarding experience.

“I actually love teaching people to play Magic,” said Trey Natili, a member of the RPG Club who assisted at the con. “The best part is you can see people literally light up when they start to really understand what’s going on … [LepreCon is] definitely something I want to be involved in again in the future, and I’m glad I helped out.”

What I loved most about the convention was taking part in other students’ passions. There’s nothing like excitedly chatting with someone about the art that they poured their heart and soul into or playing a board game that they’re particularly enthusiastic about. Though it’s easy for me to feel consumed by work, it is in those kinds of moments that I truly feel unencumbered, able to enjoy the time I spent with close friends and new faces.