Students and staff attend the anime convention Quinni-Con at Quinnipiac University

The Incredible Hulk, Sailor Moon, and Draco Malfoy sip Japanese tea together in the cafeteria of the Rocky Top Student Center. On the second floor, Princess Peach, Storm from X-Men and Dr. Horrible try a demo of a new video game.

It's not Halloween - it's the weekend of the annual Quinni-Con convention on the York Hill Campus at Quinnipiac. The Asian Novelty in Media Entertainment (ANIME) student group sponsors and runs the event that brings together fans of anime (Japanese animation) from Quinnipiac and beyond for a weekend of art, film, gaming, sci-fi and Japanese culture.

Most guests attend the convention dressed as anime, comic book or video game heroes, villains and sidekicks. Quinni-Con features demonstrations, panels, film showings and special guests such as voice-over actors, animators, musicians, and writers. The event also includes a cosplay contest, short for costume play.

"I never expected that the convention would grow the way it did," said Jennifer Andreozzi'12, former president of the club who is completing the University's MAT program. "We wanted to show the Quinnipiac campus what the ANIME Club is all about."

The first year, members of the club didn't know what to expect. Then 400 people from all over Connecticut and the surrounding states showed up. Now in its third year, the convention has more than doubled its attendance to more than 1,000 people in 2014.

"Quinni-Con stands out from other anime conventions because we are all about our guests," said Jennifer Andreozzi. "Our volunteers are very friendly. Other conventions are profitable, whereas we are free and run for fun."

The club members enjoy a strong bond of friendship based on a common interest. In addition to planning the convention, the club members meet weekly to discuss and enjoy anime movies and culture. The group also branches into manga (Japanese comics), video games, card games, comics, sci-fi, graphic novels and cosplaying. Members occasionally travel to other conventions and the club sends a contingent to volunteer during Quinnipiac's Big Event, a day of volunteering in the community. The organization also makes a donation to Child's Play, a game industry charity dedicated to improving the lives of hospitalized children worldwide with toys and games.

"It's more than a club," said Andreozzi. "Everyone that joins winds up being a friend."


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