All hands on deck for Yachting Club’s What the Hell?! Convention 2014

With great preparation and expectations, Guilford’s annual What the Hell?! Convention will take place from Feb. 28 to March 2. The convention is Yachting Club’s crowning achievement, hosting multi-genre activities like board and card games, video games, comics, cosplay, anime, crafts and movies.

“Emily Eadie, Joy Damon and I drove to all the stores nearby like Grinning Gamer, Lost Arc, Geeksboro, putting up posters, trying to get the word out,” said sophomore and con runner Ryan Siebens.

Yachting Club is one of Guilford’s largest clubs, and while often misunderstood due to its nautical name, is dedicated to all genres of geek. Each year, the con does its best to signify openness and celebrate people’s love of various subjects.

“This year, our focus will be around sci-fi/fantasy writing,” said senior Vita Price, treasurer of the Yachting Club. “We cover a pretty wide variety of stuff.

“Our main guest is a little more academic. We are having a representative from a women’s writer’s guild coming to speak. She is represented by Broad Universe.”

The guest, Suzanne Adair, will lead a creative writing workshop in the Leak Room on March 1 at 11:30 a.m.

Among the planned guests, the Flaming Faeries Theater Troupe will come to Guilford on Saturday, March 1. Their acts are known to include shows with fire staffs, flaming torches, fire fans, fire hoops and fire umbrellas.

Another guest is the European Medieval Arts of Arms, who have been an annual participant of What the Hell?! Con since 2008. They will demonstrate Medieval and Renaissance fighting forms.

Beyond the variety of guests is a large number of activities such as the Bad Movie Room, which will start at 6:30 p.m. on Friday Feb. 28 on Duke’s second floor and Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

“An activity that is near and dear to my heart is the Bad Movie Room,” said senior and Yachting Club Commodore Emily Eadie. “(The movies) are just good enough that you can sit down and watch them without dying, and they are so bad that you can sit there and just riff the crap out of them.”

There will be activities for foodies such as Iron Chef and Killer Breakfast. Iron Chef is one of the con’s classic activities, in which participants are challenged to make the best meal possible with crude equipment.

For people who want to get their game on, there will be game rooms where tournaments will be held. The Board and Card Game room will open at 6:30 on Friday, Feb. 28, and 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, March 1. The Video Game Room will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday.

“In the Board and Card Game Room, I am going to be running a Magic Tournament at some point,” said junior Patrick Withrow. “There will be a Video Game Room where we are going to be running a fighting game tournament.”

This year, What the Hell?! Con strives for a larger student turnout and to reach out to other clubs to host activities for the coming years.

“We are definitely trying to get more student groups on campus involved,” said sophomore and con runner Eva Sutton. “We are open to make this a student-run event rather than relying on alumni support constantly.”

Besides getting more Guilford student involvement, the con strives for better organization this year. As a step towards that goal, the convention will start a week later than previous years.

“My hope is that people will have more time to get prepared for it,” said Withrow. “Hopefully, our vendors will be better prepared for it. We are going to bring our a-game, 110 percent.”

While the con is striving to evolve, it still keeps in touch with traditions, such as the Geek Auction, in which people in cosplay are bid on for a dance.

The money goes to a charity, Child’s Play, which distributes consoles to children with terminal illnesses. The Geek Auction will take place at 9 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 1, in the Dana Auditorium.

“The sheer energy and creativity put into the entire con was wonderful,” said Sylvia Steere ’07, former Yachting Club member. “So much effort was put in to do something new and exciting every year.”

“It was wonderful to be allowed to take something we were passionate about and act on it,” said former Yachting Club member Matt Steere ‘07, founder of the con’s Iron Chef. “This was wonderful because we had a solid idea and made it happen.”

The countdown to the convention has started. For all those who worked hard to make it happen, the hope is for a big turnout this year.

“Clearly, every year of the event inspires new students to want to be a part of it next year,” said Steere. “The mere fact that WTH?! Con still exists says quite a lot about the dedication and hard work of the current students.”

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