Students to ‘geek out’ for ‘#GeekPride’


Megan Ivey, Verge Editor

Students in MGT 4850, Project Management, want to diminish the stigma of the terms “nerd” and “geek” with the event “#GeekPride” from 10 a.m.-2:45 p.m. Saturday at 7th Street Underground, located in the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

“#GeekPride” is an event open to all students and community members. Deck and board games will be provided by EIU Gamers Guild and The End Zone, a video game store and gaming area in Charleston and Mattoon. Demos of games such as “Magic: The Gathering” and “Yu-Gi-Oh!” will be presented throughout the event for people who are not familiar with the games.

The Japanese Anime Club will also supply anime which will play throughout the event.

Ethan Enloe, a senior management major, said students are encouraged to play games and watch anime, as well as gain connections to people with similar interests.

“We want people to take pictures of them having fun using ‘#GeekPride,’” he said. “We want to make this as sociable, geeky and nerdy as possible.”

Always having a passion for video games and anime, Enloe said the event’s creation is something that holds personal meaning.

“I don’t remember a time in my  life when I have not played a video game,” he said. “People often talk about sports, but if I say, ‘Hey have you played that  new Final Fantasy Game?’” people don’t give a welcoming response.”

The terms “geek” and “nerd” have followed Enloe throughout childhood, and while he said it is growing in acceptance, he said he has realized his interests have major popularity outside of the United States.

“In Korea, video gaming is a primetime sport,” he said. “A team of five was just awarded $5 million for winning the ‘League of Legends’ video game world tournament. This is happening, just outside of our  mainstream culture and community.”

Enloe, along with his group members Amanda Kurpiel, Joseph Salazar, Daniel Tricoli, Matthew Boll and Aaron Williams, all senior management majors, have been working on creating and planning the event for over two months.

After coming up with the idea, group members had to create and plan all aspects of the event. This included generating sponsors, securing a location, and providing marketing.

Enloe said it was a big task, but with the inspiration from his professor of the course, Larry White, he wanted to see it through to the fullest.

“The thing I’ve been motived by the most was a note written from my professor after the group gave our presentation,” he said. “It said, ‘Make it happen; make it big.’ So all four of the groups are going to come together and do just that: make it big.”

Enloe said preparing for the event is a perfect example of what he could be doing in his selected job field when he graduates next semester.

“I have done most of the things an actual project manager would do,” he said. “That’s the neatest part about this. In the last two months I’ve had a good representation of what I might be doing for the next 20 years.”

Enloe said anyone interested should attend the event, even if a person would not consider themselves a “geek.”

“We welcome any kind of person to come,” he said. “Even if someone does not label themselves a ‘nerd,’ come and see what makes other people like us passionate.”

Megan Ivey can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].