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UCLA Magazine Spring 2005
From Murphy Hall
Living La Vida 'Lorca'
Stress Fractures
What's at Stake
The Importance of Being Elma
House of Cards
The Quest
Through Women's Eyes
Dynamic Duo
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Spring 2005
Bruin Walk

Hail, O Nerd Masters

Hail, O nerd masters
Illustration by Mo Willems

Hitch up your pants and tuck in your shirts, kids. Nerdy is the new cool.

Formed just a year ago, the Bruin Nerds — an official UCLA student group — is one of the fastest- growing clubs on campus. About 150 freshmen signed up during orientation last summer. Since then, the roster has swelled to more than 300.

“In high school, you don’t want to be a nerd. But here, who cares? This is just a lot of fun,” says club member Rachel Stauber, whose nerdly side includes membership in the Phi Eta Sigma academic honor society and science bowl in high school.

Ryan Gerard, a fifth-year major in — what else — comp sci, started the club last spring as a way to bring together like-minded students. While there are no membership requirements, anyone who knows pi past five decimal points, has an Abercrombie & Fitch-free closet, or would choose an afternoon at the Getty over shopping at The Grove would fit in.

Gerard, who wears de riguer black, plastic-frame glasses, keeps things lively by organizing outings and activities, the more offbeat the better. The Nerds joined placard-waving protesters at Paris Hilton’s Los Angeles book signing. An afternoon of macabre adventure followed with a visit to celebrity graves at Pierce Brothers in Westwood. The Nerds hit the Laemmle for a midnight showing of the cult classic Hedwig and the Angry Inch, about the hapless victim of a botched sex-change operation.

Despite the Nerds’ success, UCLA appears in little danger of a takeover by plaid shirt-wearing undergrads with taped eyeglasses. On last inspection, bare navels and baggy trousers still ruled the campus.


     » Ordered a root beer float?
     » Ordered a root beer float at Maloney’s?

     » Created a database-driven Web site for an academic department at          UCLA?
     » Created a database-driven Web site for an academic department at          UCLA without being asked?

     » Done your homework on a Friday night?
     » Done your homework on a Friday night at SEAS Café?

     » Watched a Star Trek marathon at Triangle Fraternity?
     » Asked your mother for permission to watch a Star Trek marathon at          Triangle Fraternity?

     0-3:  Sorry, you're not a nerd, just weird.
     4-6:  You're showing definite symptoms of nerdliness.
     7-8:  You can uncinch your pants. It's not raining anymore.


by Anne Burke

2005 The Regents of the University of California