Every spring there is one weekend a year where you will find students and other community members walking through campus dressed up as characters from the anime world. They come from far and wide to attend the Castle Point Anime Convention (CPAC).
In 2007, the Stevens Anime Club, under the leadership of now alumnus Keith B. Cassidy, decided to host an anime convention. After talking to the Student Government Association and the Office of Special Functions and the Office Student Life, the inaugural event was held in spring of 2008.
That first year CPAC drew about 600 attendees and was considered a great success, but it has continued to grow each and every year since to become a true sensation at Stevens. Last year the event drew a total of 2,100 attendees, and this year drew an even bigger crowd.
“The past two years we had roughly 630 people preregister while this year we had 984 preregister as of Sunday night,” said Stevens Anime Club President Alexis Moore.
The event really takes over the entire campus so many alumni come back to help out as event staff.
“The events are numerous,” said Moore. “We have guests and attendees who plan panels or workshops for other attendees including explanations of a show, drawing tutorials and game shows, to name a few.
The Stevens Anime Club was proud to announce that for the first time ever they flew in industry guests to speak and entertain at the convention. The event featured Kyle Hebert, a famous anime voice actor; Mike McFarland, who has worked in the anime industry as a script writer, line producer, director and voice actor; Lizbeth Jimenez, an American Manga-ka, the Japanese equivalent of comic book artist and writer; and Ian Rubin, a break out comedian with a geeky sense of humor.
The Stevens Anime Club prepares for the convention by having weekly meetings to discuss the planning of the event as well as how to advertise the event.
"On campus we don't need as much advertising because 2,000 people in costumes is pretty hard to miss and so many students and organizations are involved in the planning,” said Moore.
But to reach attendees outside the Stevens community, the club advertises on PATH trains, on their club website, on Facebook and on Twitter. The day before the event the club has an “all hands on deck” meeting which briefs the staff about the structure of the convention as well as what needs to be done.
The Stevens Anime Club’s hard work has paid off because this year’s event was the largest in the club’s history. Tickets are free to Stevens students, $12 for pre-registered attendees, and $15 at the door. The convention usually brings in $15,00- to 20,000 in ticket sales alone, which allows CPAC to be the largest and the only self-sufficient student run event on campus.
The convention is second behind Unity for multiple campus organizations working together to produce an event. APO, the service fraternity, provides the convention with day-of volunteers and instrumental in the year-round planning. The Stute Managing Editor Ralph Moscato helped put together the convention’s programming guide and Joe Brosnan of Red Shift set up the Artist Alley. The Card and Board Gamming Society helped staff the game room and SITTV covered the whole event. All of these organizations came together to plan and execute the largest convention yet.
This year Castle Point Anime Convention wrapped up with a DJ dance party in Walker Gym. The gym was transformed with an amazing lightshow courtesy of Castle Point Radio (WCPR). and attendees danced the night away to celebrate another successful Castle Point Anime Convention.