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
BRUIN NERD TEST
HAVE YOU EVER...
Ordered a root beer float?
» Ordered a
root beer float at Maloney’s?
Created a database-driven Web site for an academic department at
» 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
0-3: Sorry, you're not a nerd,
4-6: You're showing definite
symptoms of nerdliness.
7-8: You can uncinch your pants.
It's not raining anymore.
by Anne Burke