Geek culture meets student culture

ASU clubs mix geek life with student life through physical activities, movie nights and trivia

Geek culture has become a lifestyle for young college students across the country. Once just a common saying, "geek" has transformed into a culture by being normalized through things like student organizations.

Multiple ASU clubs and organizations have been adapting this new culture for its members with activities that are more than talking about a certain book or show.

The ASU Quidditch team represents how a fictional sport from a popular book series has transformed into a real-life activity that thousands of people across the country participate in.

Some students on the team, like film and media production junior Caleb Ragatz, believe that combining their arts-related majors with a fictional game strengthens their love not only for pop culture, but sports as well.

"In school I found my passion in filmmaking, and now I’ve found an athletic passion to go along with it," Ragatz said. "It’s a great balance because I think if you’re super passionate and driven about only one thing your life can become derivative but since I have these two separate interests that I put all my time in I have some variety."

The Harry Potter series isn't the first form of entertainment to impact society. The Star Wars franchise is another popular geek culture topic that many trivia nights, movies in the park and clubs are based on. One of the clubs dedicated to the series, AZ Saber, lets students channel their inner Obi-Wan with activities like sword fighting that would surely be Jedi approved.

Though sword fighting is not a well-known sport, many fans have wanted to pursue it ever since Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader's first battle in Episode V

Second-year education graduate student Brian Miller is a member of the club and said members join for different reasons ranging from that they want to be a real Jedi, to those who just want to hit their friends with a stick.

"You have groups [like AZ Saber] that include both die-hard Star Wars fans, people with a casual interest, and those with a sports interest," Miller said. "There are even some that haven’t seen Star Wars, but joined anyway because who wouldn’t want to swing a big glowing stick at their best friend?"

Much like how music of the 90s influenced how teens dressed, talked and behaved, the new era of pop culture seems to be sinking in with a new generation of young adults. Clubs across campus have accepted it and so has the university.

Computer science senior Randy Brookins is not only the creator and president of AZ Saber, but a strong advocate for the new age of entertainment mixing with student life.

"My personal take on geek culture is that it is becoming the new norm," Brookins said. "University students are encouraged to go out a pursue their own passions and do what they want. ASU makes it easy to create student organizations and makes sure they have what they need."

Everyday there are examples on campus of how pop culture is merging with student life. From posting Kermit the Frog memes on Facebook to a club dedicated to a fantasy wizard sport, the geek cultural era has risen and is thriving at our university with a strong student body standing behind it.

"Despite AZ Saber being one of the geekiest things I have thought of," Brookins said. "It makes me incredibly proud at how much attention we get from people just walking down the street."

AZ Sabers holds practices at 7 p.m. on Tuesdays at the Memorial Union on the Tempe Campus. For more information, check the club's Facebook page.


Reach the reporter at jhaynie1@asu.edu or follow @jilli_haynie on Twitter.

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