Welcome to WisCon! We are so happy to have you here!
Whether this is your very first con ever or just your first time at WisCon, here are some things to help you get a running start. (All hours and locations are listed in your Pocket Program Book.)
Look for the people in the neon vests. These are members of the Safety Team and they are here to help you. If you ever feel unsafe or uncomfortable in a situation, look for a Safety volunteer or make your way to Registration and ask them to contact Safety. If you cannot find a volunteer and Registration is closed, you can ask the Hotel desk for assistance. Of course, if it’s an emergency please dial 911.
Look for the “Ask Me!” on some name badges. These are members on the Convention Committee (concom) and they are happy to answer any questions you might have or refer you to someone who can. There is no question too small.
Access: Tell us what you need!
We are dedicated to making WisCon as accessible as possible. Tell us what you need—from a wheelchair to get to a nearby restaurant to a disposable respirator so you can check out The Gathering to a large print Pocket Program Book—and we may be able to help. We even have vouchers for accessible taxicabs available 24/7 for those who are unable to use the hotel shuttles. A Registration volunteer can connect you with the Access Team.
Registration not only gives you your badge, they can answer your questions or refer you to someone who can.
The Program Book:
The Program Book contains not only a schedule and descriptions of all the different panels, presentations, and parties that happen over the weekend but invaluable information about all the extras that make WisCon so awesome. You can find all of the info listed here in the Pocket Program Book.
You can pick up a paper copy of the At Con Newsletter every day at Registration or check out the Wiscon Blog, Twitter, and Facebook for all the latest updates.
The Gathering is a great, low-pressure way to get comfortable in con space and maybe even start meeting people. You are welcome here!
First WisCon Dinner:
First-timers and those who want to welcome them can gather on the second floor, outside the Wisconsin Ballroom at 5:15 on Friday where the group will split up and head out to different restaurants. It’s a great way to get to know fellow Firsties and those who have been around awhile and ask all the questions you can fit in between bites! There are restaurant options to fit most budgets.
The Con Suite:
The Con Suite is free of charge. They serve a variety of veggies, dips, chips, hot dogs, veggie dogs, pizza, popcorn, soda, and other snacks with options to fit most dietary needs.
Safer Space for People of Color:
A safe space for those who identify as POC to come together for face-to-face networking and problem solving.
You already know there are panels and you might even have an idea of which ones you want to attend, but did you know panels are suggested and staffed by people just like you? Anyone can suggest and then volunteer for panels. In fact, panel suggestions are open on Friday so if something sparks an idea, jot it down then submit it ASAP.
Parties are for everyone! Whether you wander from one to another or find a comfy chair and park, parties are great for both meeting new people and people-watching. There are snacks and beverages and often fun activities at parties like the Haiku Earring Party where you can choose a fabulous handmade pair of earrings for the price of a single haiku. How can you beat that?
If you live within the city of Madison or if you are staying at a hotel within the city of Madison, you can pick up a taxi voucher at Registration or the Concourse Hotel desk to get you safely home at night. Vouchers are good Thursday-Monday nights after 10:30 p.m. If you’re able, the drivers deeply appreciate tips. (And if you missed it above, vouchers are also available 24/7 for those who need an accessible alternative to the hotel shuttle.)
For those who need a little breather, we offer The Quiet Place on the second floor. It’s a space to rest, meditate, or just get away for a few minutes. We also offer a Quiet Reading Room on the 6th floor.
You may hear terms or acronyms you’re not familiar with or references to events past. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you’re too shy to ask the speaker, look for an Ask Me! Badge or ask at Registration.
Spending Your Money:
In addition to the Dealer’s Room full of awesome things to buy, we also have the Art Show, the Tiptree Auction, the Tiptree Bake Sale, and the Dessert Salon. If you can afford to bring a little extra cash, you might just find a good home for it; as little as $1 can buy you a new book or a plate of baked goods.
We run on volunteers. If you find you have an unscheduled bit of time, check out the volunteer board. It’s also an excellent way to meet new people.
Be yourself! Dress as comfy or as fab as you’d like, but please remember WisCon and the Concourse Hotel must adhere to state and local laws and health codes. Shoes must be worn in the Con Suite, the hotel restaurant, and the hotel bar. If you’d like to get super-fancy, Sunday night’s Dessert Salon and The Floomp dance party are great dress-up opportunities.
We want you here, we want you to have an awesome time, and we want you to want to come back. When you get your Pocket Program Book or download the WisSched app for your iPhone or Android device, you can read more about all of our programs and services. You’ll be a WisPro in no time flat.
When your weekend is over, let us know how we’ve done at the Post-Mortem on Monday at 2:30 p.m. and/or complete the online survey. (Links will be available on the WisCon homepage and via our social media channels) With your suggestions we can work to make next year’s WisCon even better.
Once again, welcome to WisCon!