GSU students enjoyed a learning experience at Lodge Con


Chris Weber

Professor Christen Embry, and GSU students Shahid Jaber and Nuha Abdessalam stand near the entry for Lodge Con 2022.

Chris Weber, Phoenix Staff Writer

Students from GSU attended Lodge Con 2022 at the Will County Fairgrounds in Peotone on Nov. 5. Lodge Con, is described by the organizers as “ a family-friendly gaming, geek, crafts, panels, seminars, cosplay convention.”

Students who were enrolled in the course “Comics, Cons, and Cosplay” have been learning about how fans interact with media throughout the semester. Lodge Con 2022 was an opportunity for many of the students to see the information they have studied put into action. “Comics, Cons, and Cosplay,” taught by Professor Christen Embry, explores “the role of the fan in pop culture with a focus on how fans impact the creations they love.” The class is described as an interactive workshop.

Faceless Cosplay talks to students at Lodge Con 2022. (Chris Weber)

Students were introduced to a cosplayer and streamer dressed as the character Aria from “Game of Thrones.” Faceless Cosplay, as she calls herself online, told students about how she became interested in dressing up for conventions. “Somebody told me that I looked like Aria,” she said. Faceless Cosplay then watched the show and identified with the character. She said that dressing up, streaming, and attending conventions allowed her to connect with people who share her interests and she enjoys it because of those social connections.

Students also met volunteers from Extra Life. Extra Life is a program of the Children’s Miracle Network. The program provides gamers with a platform to raise money for participating hospitals like the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago. Students can stream gaming content online and ask their friends, families, and fans to donate while they play. This allows many students to raise money for charity and earn credit for community service hours while doing something they enjoy.

The students were encouraged to meet a wide range of other vendors, fans, authors, and more. One of these vendors was Critical Grind in Shorewood. Critical Grind is a locally owned coffee shop founded by Dana Buxbaum and Shaun Tennant. Because of their “mutual love of introducing people to new games,” they started a coffee shop and board game cafe. They encourage an open and inclusive environment for people to enjoy playing games with friends or strangers. Tennant was at Lodge Con 2022 to promote Critical Grind and meet other people who shared a passion for gaming.

The students were required to write an essay about how the subjects they studied in class were represented at Lodge Con. For many, this was their first experience attending a con. Nuha Abdessalam, a GSU student and staff writer for the Phoenix, said that Lodge Con 2022 “was a very welcoming experience and it had awesome vibes.”

Lodge Con 2022 returned after a one-year hiatus in 2021 due to the COVID pandemic. Organizers said that this year’s event was bigger and better than ever.

(back row from left) Chris Weber, Nuha Abdessalam, Shahid Jaber, Jimmie Whaley, Sarah Bages, (front) Dr. Yaritza Porras, Professor Christen Embry.