GEEKcon is an annual event at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, dedicated to showcasing, entertaining and promoting multiple talents, hobbies, and passions.
Since 2017, when Rob Mattison, a former owner of a Comic Book shop, was looking for a project that could bring together University of Wisconsin Eau Claire students, faculty, staff, and the Eau Claire community, GEEKcon has maintained a standard of excellence in the world of geeks. His goal with the first ever GEEKcon was to show UW-Eau Claire and the Eau Claire community the many interests we have in common to depict our differences in age and stages of life. GEEKcon accomplishes this by providing students and community members the opportunity to showcase their creative work and learn more about their passions and talents.
The first GEEKcon event was vastly different from the event we see today. Mattison and a student volunteer, Rachel Shea, took full advantage of the Universities resources to plan and create the very first GEEKcon convention. Mattison’s student worker Annie Titus was the President of Pride and was excited to be a part of the event. Along with the support and backing of the great organization Pride, Mattison also received help from the UW-Eau Claire Alumni Office, UW-Eau Claire faculty, and UW-Eau Claire staff. Thanks to the help from these resources Mattison was able to find many people that were doing cool things, had connections with UWEC, and people who offered to volunteer their time to person tables with organization information, do how-to demos, and more. Thanks to all of the resources that UW- Eau Claire has, the talent at the first GEEKcon event, and all the amazing volunteers the first year of GEEKcon was a success! Mattison was excited for future years of GEEKcon to come.
The second annual GEEKcon event was when the University’s Communication and Journalism Department and TV-10 saw an opportunity to offer some of their resources. This included TV-10’s sponsorship, technology, advertisements, and more. As well as the Communications and Journalism professor Nicole Schultz and an entire class of students from the Communication and Journalism Department enrolled in CJ: 351 Strategic Event Planning. Geekcon offers an opportunity for students within the CJ Department, specifically enrolled in CJ:351, to gain experiences and communications skills by watching and working with three different event planning teams. These teams consist of (1) Recruitment & Programming Team; (2) Publicity & Promotion Team; and the (3) Hospitality Team. Mattison said “This changed everything, from a one-person idea to a group endeavor. The show was opened to more ideas and it showed with almost all areas of the event growing and expanding. The gaming connection was enhanced greatly, as was the organization and the running of the show.”
GEEKcon, TV-10, and the CJ Departments on-going collaborative efforts is an example of the epitome of “The Power of [AND]!” Schutz states “Having worked with Rob Mattison and Matt Peterson on this front going on three years, and now having Mike Gehrke join us, I am increasingly inspired to find ways to make connections across the university with colleagues as well as introduce Blugolds to off-campus connections I’ve work diligently to cultivate since I started here at UWEC in the Department of Communication & Journalism [AND] the Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program 2007. I think EVERYONE can find their place with GEEKcon, whether as a planner, guest, artist/vendor/performer, or attendee…GEEKcon.IS.FOR.YOU.” It allows everyone in the community to share their hobbies and passions and be recognized for them.