Cosplay artform brings UB students together
The UB Cosplay Club welcomes everyone to explore and create art through costumes
When Jennifer Dudzinski started her freshman year at UB, she had one friend and a casual interest in cosplay –– an artform where people create and wear costumes of characters from movies, books, video games and other forms of media.
After her friend persuaded her to join the UB Cosplay Club, Dudzinski, who had no prior experience making costumes, says she fell in love.
Now, as a senior media studies and English double major, this is Dudzinski’s second year as president of UB Cosplay, where she helps other students discover their love for costume design just as she did.
UB alum Devon Marr started the club in 2014, after seeing similar clubs at other universities. By 2015, UB Cosplay became an official Student Association-funded club and has continued to grow over the years. People often cosplay, a combination of “costume” and “play,” at conventions around the world to either participate in cosplay contests or to simply show their work.
During the school year, UB Cosplay meets weekly to discuss upcoming events, important club information and a cosplay topic of the week such as how to style a wig or how to survive a convention. After the presentation is over, members use the rest of the meeting time to work on costumes, use the club’s materials such as the sewing machine and fabrics and just to socialize.
“There really is nothing like it,” Dudzinski said. “When everyone comes together to celebrate different fandoms and to admire all the hard work that other people put into their costumes, it’s just amazing.”
Kaitlyn Johnson, a senior media studies and theatre design technology double major, was the UB Cosplay president before Dudzinski.
Johnson was interested in cosplay before joining the club and said cosplay helped her find her place on campus.
“Some people cosplay [to] escape from reality, to show their love of a character, to be able to make something and bring it to life, [or to have] a creative outlet,” Johnson said
Despite the struggles Dudzinksi has faced as president, such as the stress that comes with running events, her love of cosplay and the strong connections she’s made with other members make her role “an experience like no other.”
“I have the opportunity to work with my friends to create a space for people like us,” Dudzinski said.
UB Cosplay participates in multiple events throughout the year, including UB’s Miniclash, the cosplay fall dance, club trips to conventions outside of UB like Buffalo Con and UBCon, which is UB’s main convention. UB Strategist and Role Players Association started the popular annual convention which is now jointly run during the spring semester every year by UB SARPA, UB Anime and UB Cosplay.
During her time as president, Johnson said she worked hard for UB Cosplay to be considered equal to UB SARPA and UB Anime. Johnson remembers fighting to co-run UBCon.
“[The SARPA president] was being intimidated by us four girls saying, ‘We want in to UBCon and the profits,’” Johnson said. “We got it.”
Senior chemical and biological engineering major David Fusani is a regular UB Cosplay member who loves the social aspect of the club.
“The best part about the club is the cohesive friend group aspect,” Fusani said. “The people in the cosplay club are naturally really open to even those who might not initially understand it, like yours truly, and will gladly introduce you to what they’re passionate about.”
Dudzinski says she hopes the club will continue to grow and be able to do things with and for the cosplay community.
“Everything is the best part of UBCosplay. I know it’s cheesy to say, but it’s true,” Dudzinski said. “From the friendships I’ve made to the accomplishments we’ve achieved, everything makes me love this club.”
Anastasia Wilds is an assistant arts editor and can be reached at email@example.com.