Nerdy and the Grεεk

binford2k's picture


The event now has its own page:

Most of you are aware that over the summer a PR class conducted a study on the LUG. They felt, and I'm sure many of you agree, that the group could use an improved image. We've also been asked by the CS department to try and increase our female membership in the hopes that this will translate into increased female enrollment in the department.

The PR group offered a suggestion for that. They think that we should hold a social with a sorority.

Done laughing? No? I'll wait.

It sounds ridiculous; I'll give you that. But we've actually come up with a way to make it work.

You've probably seen a movie or a TV show that featured a 'bachelor auction.' You know, buy a dude and he's yours for the night. We're going to host a nerd auction. You can buy a nerd and he'll fix your computer, help you with stats homework, or if you're really adventurous, take you to dinner!

The problem is that we're all still nerds. Let's face it, guys. If anyone's going to bid on us, we'll need some spicing up. And who better to help with that than sorority girls who like nothing better than a makeover?Yes, this is incredibly stereotypical and insensitive of me. But it's funny. Don't be offended.

Here's the current plan: We'll choose a handful of brave nerds to take one for the team. The girls get to have their way with them and we'll document each makeover. We'll make a snazzy video and show it over dinner. After the dinner, we'll auction off the now studly nerds. Instead of being a social with the sorority, it will be targeted to the general population and co-hosted by the sorority. We may even sell tickets for it!

Scott Robinson and an equally personable sorority girl will MC the event. We'll try to hold it in a banquet room or similar on campus and have it catered by the Hospitality department. There is potential for significant funding by various departments and organizations on campus and a possibility of vendor sponsorship.

Oh, and when we're done, that video's going straight to YouTube!

We are in the planning stages right now. If you're interested in working on the project, please contact an officer or anyone listed in the tasklist.

View the tasklist here.


Before you get fired up and post an inflammatory comment or email, I'd like to make two points clear.

This article was intended for LUG members as a way to get them up to speed with what we were doing. It is not a press release and wasn't intended for public consumption. The stereotypical statements were made to people who know me and know my quirky sense of humor. The humor in them is exactly because they are so ridiculously over exaggerated. This is exactly why Mr. Bean makes you laugh.

1. a comic, absurd, or incongruous quality causing amusement: the humor of a situation.

We certainly don't believe in these stereotypes or we wouldn't be putting on this event. We are using the stereotypes as a tool. We have to put them up for display in order to break them.

Secondly, a lot of people are mistaking this as a feeble attempt to "get nerds laid by sorority members." Although I can't speak for the motivations of the individuals on the block, as far as the organization of the event, this couldn't be further from the truth. Think about it. We are nerds. We know how to calculate return on investment. This event is costing us thousands of dollars to put on and I'm sorry, but I'm not willing to pay that kind of money to make six or eight dudes happy for a night. The sororities involved are partners in the event, not the target market. The event is open to the public and anyone can bid.


scott.allerdice's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

I like your content. iphone app

Admin edit: Spammer dbag raises his head!

elizabeth's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

Thanks for making CS 121 lab enjoyable

millermatic's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

Good luck with your event.... given the publicity it has received it should work out great.

anonymous_who_saw_CNN_article's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

Yes, you guys are getting some serious publicity. :P

If you guys are interested in solving the "Why don't many women like CS?" problem, I would recommend starting with gals in your CS department (you do have them, don't you?), and then finding non-CS majors and asking them questions based on what the CS gals tell you.

As a female CS major at a different university, I can tell you from my own experiences that at least some of it is cultural. Our CS program has plenty of female grad students -- all of them from places like India, Asia, Turkey, etc. But our program has a serious shortage of women from the U.S., especially at the undergrad level.

Sad to say, "geek/nerd" culture often doesn't come packaged for women. Most people I know who are geeks got in through side interests: anime, gaming, LARPs, sci-fi/fantasy novels, etc. But I've done a survey of sci-fi/fantasy literature, and it's hard to find main characters who are female (although it's getting better). Anime fan-service mostly consists of half-naked females (and Japanese girls may like Yaoi, but those kinds of men aren't attractive to most U.S. gals). And tell the truth, guys: when was the last time you described your male NPC as "rippling muscles, bulge in the pants, drop-dead gorgeous"? (I've been in games where the female was described as "busty, curvaceous, sensual lips, very gorgeous", but never heard the former description).

Third, ending up as a female "convert" to CS can be a bit daunting. A lot of CS departments assume that you've grown up with computers, and don't fill in the blanks (especially in the higher-level classes). But this isn't true for some of the women who join the CS major (especially because of ad campaigns like yours :P), but they often don't want to speak up for fear of looking stupid in front of you guys who have been playing with computers since you gave up high-chairs. So if you're seeing someone who is struggling, talk to the professor after class and get him/her to slow down, or ask "stupid" questions during class to get the professor to clarify. And try not to be patronizing outside of class -- offer to study with gals if it seems appropriate, but wait until they ask before you offer advice/help/specific information. It's a tough line to walk between being helpful and making women feel like they're stupid, but I have confidence you guys can do it. :)

Linux people, this criticism is for you, and drives a lot of women off: when newbies ask a question, please stop saying RTFM or "go check the man pages" or "google it". Real newbies can't make any sense of man pages no matter how hard they try, don't know enough to do an effective search for the topic, and probably didn't understand the manual even if they read it. Instead, take 30 seconds out of your time, google the exact page they need to solve their question, and post a single link -- because multiple links confuse the uninitiated (don't say "visit, and read the Ubuntu docs and you'll find your answer").

Changing these things can go a long way to making women feel welcome, at least from my experience. But I'm sure your female CS majors and non-CS sorority gals can give you their own experiences and thoughts. :)

stupid_but_loves_computers's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

I'm with anonymous! :) I take many classes here at WSU that are required for Computer Science and/or Engineering and I have to say from the perspective of a woman who loves computers but hasn't had the opportunity to learn about them before, that things get intimidating! It takes me a bit to catch on and in the mean time any lab/study partner has already taken charge and shown me what I'd rather figure out on my own. Sometimes they just ignore my presence and do the work without me. Either way I end up feeling like he thinks I'm retarded and getting angry or discouraged that I'm not learning quickly enough. Inevitably I fall behind and get to suffer the joys of learning new material without a full understanding of the basics. I understand that you guys are students too and you can't just hold my hand through my entire education, but I have a feeling that some girls are definitely scared off by that sort of situation. These classes get so frustrating!! XP
Good luck with your event/fundraising!

binford2k's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

Would you be interested if we set up question and answer tutorial sessions? I'd love to help you out.

solifugus's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

How many women are in the engineer and computer science departments? How do you interest women in engineering and computer science and extol the virtues of the Free and Open Source Software movements? What keeps women out? Is it the subjects or the people? The culture? Dialog and interaction are good--even if it is the only thing that comes out of this project.

The publicity was not intentional. This was in the early planning stage. But I find the mix of encouraging and discouraging messages interesting in and of itself. At first it seemed everyone saw this as a a net positive idea in every respect. You cannot always know how others will see the same things you see.

summima's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

Yes!! This is offensively stereotypical and outrageously
insensitive! It's good you're aware of that - so fix it!

I not only have my B.A. and M.S. in Mathematics, but I
also was in a sorority all four years of undergrad.

A makeover was most definitely NOT something I couldn't
get enough of.

I think you have a good idea here, but you need to be
aware that your wording might be of pissing off the very
people you need help from most.

Anonymous2007's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

All excellent points. If only they had the social skills to realize that they are alienating and insulting both the sorority women AND the female engineers. Ugh.

vrlpete's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

I wish someone would have thought of this back when I attended Purdue in '85. Best of luck to you fellow nerds on this. It sounds like a great idea!


BTW, found the article on The news is spreading. Do it up right, no dropping this ball gents!

Zechenia's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

Not sure if any of you have seen... but a story about this is now on the front page of CNN.

Heres a link to the article for if they move it off the front

Hortinstein's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

grats on slashdot....lets get some diggs

I hope the profiles filled out include what distro the guys use.....

ampmouse's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

Wow. You guys just made slashdot.
Thanks for making CS 121 lab enjoyable.

foggynights's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

Lord help me. Being both WSU student and the mother of a geek daughter whose main event this year was PAX, I wonder why you did not take out a booth or a set of sumo pillows there as she was boyfriend/gamer shopping/interfacing. You are searching in places where no gamer/computer nerd goes. Do a search on world of warcraft and you will be loaded with girls who have no idea that WSU has great computer science department with a sense of bizarre humor.
Hell, if you had had a booth showing your online programs (assuming) for the stuff she does (which I don't Maya, etc.,etc., she might take an interest in her mother's old school. Or maybe you are all Alliance and not Horde. Or are you all waiting for Halo 3. She lives on Newegg and is building her latest and greatest computer as we speak and would never ever join a sorority. :O

reba will's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

I would like to help if you need a makeover please send a e-mail to if you really need help or you want it. I've been a stylist for over 8 year's.

erodriguez's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

I don't know how this will invite more women into CS but it will definitely bring general attention to the program.

Better get good a video production team, a good plan and the nerdiest kids. It's already out on AP, my dad read it on the newspaper in Vancouver today. My friend said radio in Seattle was talking about it. This is getting big, so if you flake out it will be too bad.

Anomalocaris's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

I'd be far more intrigued by a group discussion on the uses of Linux in the scientific field, with a lot of free food. Heck, if you have the budget for it, have a small Linux convention - free food and events, and have it outside on a sunny day. Have other clubs do joint presentations to show how Linux is awesome for their interests. Get your requested sorority to do a 'how to pick up chicks' chat as a panel. If you want to bring in the sci-fi/anime cosplayers, have a Linux-tan contest. Make it silly and focused on the usefulness of Linux as an OS, and that would be more fun than a fancy dinner.

Also, those girls you're trying to attract? Most likely many of the ones you're out to convert are nerds with friends who are CS majors or are just hiding out in their rooms gaming. Still, best of luck with getting more women to join your ranks.

flowerhippy's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

Here's the deal. There are plenty of women happy to go out with men, nerds. Instead of selling ones self, perhaps, they should have an advertisement. In the school paper, list the names of available guys, a dept number where they can be reached and one great piece of info about each man. then women can call, and set up a date or an activity. But selling ones self seems cheapening. Don't get me wrong, I completely understand. But I think there should be other ways to get the female attention.

RipponD's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

Sounds like a fun and interesting idea. I'm not sure how it will encourage more women to go into CS, though.

anonymous404's picture

Re: Nerdy and the Grεεk

Pretty Clever, the idea is interesting, and it should be fun to see how this pans out...

"He who moves first wins."

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.