Categorized | State Side

Geeks Not Freaks

Screech and Steve Urkel might have been on to something – being a dork is actually kind of fun. This explains why MSU has a variety of clubs for students who just can\’t get enough of traditionally \”dorky\” activities like quiz bowl competitions, student council or practicing magic. [magic]
The nerdiest, most sarcastic group on campus has to be MSU’s Academic Competition Club, more commonly known as quiz bowl. The game is like Jeopardy, but played with teams. The club\’s homepage reads: “Breaking News!! This website is being updated again!!! I have recently learned that this year’s elected Webmaster has not done any updating, so I have reinstated myself as Webmaster. Be prepared for a hostile takeover…If you’ve never been on a quiz bowl road trip, you need to sign up for the next one. It will be one of the best times of your life.”
Their quotes page was just as ridiculous, with pages and pages of great one-liners and inside jokes among teammates:
Quiz Bowl Practice, October 10, 2005
“I’m going to go to the bathroom and clean off whatever shit is on my pants.” ~Aren
“I’m just contemplating the advantages of staying on the floor at this moment.” ~Tara
“It’s an internship, but you’re not an intern.” ~Bob
“Nor are you a ship.” ~Aren
Their quote by Bender from The Breakfast Club, sums it all up: “So it\’s sort of social. Demented and sad, but social.”
Paul Stoetzer, international relations, political science and economics junior and vice president of the club, said they are usually a rowdy bunch in practice. Quiz bowl questions – with an extensive variety of subjects – bring up a wide range of conversation and comments (hence the randomness of their quotes page).
\”We have fun,\” said Stoetzer. \”We may be nerdy to some but we all love to play quiz bowl, and anybody who likes quiz bowl or the idea of it should come to our meetings sometime.”
They practice on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 7 – 9 p.m. in the “fishbowl” (an all-glass conference room in Abbot Hall) and occasionally compete in intercollegiate tournaments. The AAC competed Jan. 14 at a tournament at the University of Michigan, and four of the members will represent MSU at the regional College Bowl tournament in February, following a win at the intramural tournament the UAB hosted in November. They also host a high school tournament every March.
Anyone can join the organization, including undergraduate or graduate students. Most people who join played quiz bowl in high school. Quiz bowl players usually have an interest in trivia and a knowledge of a wide range of subjects such as history, literature and science.
Stoetzer said he likes quiz bowl because he has been playing since he was in ninth grade and enjoys the competition. “The people are very interesting as well, and we have a lot of fun,” he said.
Scientists have fun, too – and not just in the laboratory. In February, Lyman Briggs School will be competing against James Madison College (Nerd-Off 2006, anyone?) in a tournament including not only dodge ball, but also basketball and volleyball, for a trophy to take back to their respective school, as if the academic competition between the two colleges wasn\’t bad enough.
Lyman Briggs School of Science has approximately 1,500 students that benefit from having laboratories, classrooms, student housing, a dining hall and a convenience store all under the same roof in Holmes Hall. They also have their own student council – the Lyman Briggs School Student Advisory Council. [briggs]
The council serves as a liaison between the students and faculty members. Kelly Eggan, a biochemistry and molecular biology junior in the school and a member and contact for the council, said one of the exciting things they get to do is interview future professors that will teach in the Lyman Briggs School and throughout the rest of campus. “We are out there and on your side,\” Eggan said. \”We want your input in order to help improve the Lyman Briggs School.”
She said the best part about being in the organization is being able to connect with the faculty. \”As students it is important that we get our voice heard,\” said Eggan. \”They can help with letters of recommendation, and I know it sounds corny, but it makes me feel closer with everyone, and being in the school is like one big family.\”
You have to be a sophomore, junior or senior to join the organization, which has participated in volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House and raising $500 for hurricane relief last semester. Other projects have included volunteering on Martin Luther King, Jr., Day with Habitat for Humanity and at a health clinic.
The MSU Magicians Club does their share of community service as well. The club does private and public shows, some of which raise money for charities. Show up for one of these shows and you\’re likely to see magicians making dollar bills float, catching bubbles out of the air and pulling cards out of their mouths. The club is dedicated to the advancement of magic in the lives of magicians and the general public by helping each other practice and perform for the public. [cards]
For the past two years, the club has also performed for kids trick-or-treating on M.A.C. Avenue for the Safe Halloween night fraternities and sororities put on every year. They have also performed a show at the pediatric center of Sparrow Hospital.
“Doing shows with each other is a blast,\” said Christoher Haas, a chemical engineering junior and the club president. \”Getting to see real people\’s reactions to your work is always a natural high, especially when you absolutely blow them away. The look on a little girl\’s face when she realizes she\’s holding two sponge balls instead of one – hers, and now yours – is priceless. It\’s also a great way to get experience in performing.\”
The club meets twice a month to practice their tricks together. They break off into groups and work on whatever they need to practice. The club performs a variety of types of magic, including close-up cards, coins, mentalism, stand up manipulation and comedy magic.
Haas said anyone who can perform one trick, who really wants to learn magic, and has the endorsement of 50 percent of the current members, can join. People join the club to improve their own skills in magic, to help each other\’s performance and just to have fun. The club meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month (location TBA) and can be reached by e-mail at msumagic@msu.edu if you want to have a magic show at your next event.
So, the writing is on the wall (or in the top hat, or fishbowl, or Holmes Hall) – being a dork is anything but dorky.

Leave a Reply