Josh Whetzel/ The Mainstream
The Nerd Herd assembles Tuesdays in the LaVerne Murphy Student Center where they can be found gaming, drawing, building and enjoying all things geek.

Nerd Herd largest active club in UCC history

Nerds are no strangers to being outcasts; however, amongst themselves is a friendship and camaraderie transcending time, space and parallel dimensions.

Camaraderie between nerds at UCC has led to a newly formed club called the Nerd Herd. The club officially began at the end of fall term November 2019. The Nerd Herd has been meeting for six weeks to discuss their ideas and plans.

“We’re just a bunch of nerds who wanted to find other nerds and do nerdy things,” said Madeleine McCann, Nerd Herd President and UCC student. “I originally started coming to the Student Center because I heard there were free cup of noodles, then I met these nerds, we started doing nerdy things and now we are here.”

As the group began to grow, they were approached by an ASUCC activity officer, McCann explained. “They came in and said, ‘You know you have enough people here to start a club,’ and that kind of sparked this whole group project,” McCann said. “We didn’t realize there was such a huge amount of people who were looking for this kind of group.”

About 26 people attended the first meeting. The club now has 49 active members in their Discord group. Discord is a chatroom app that allows users to join and create communities for communication and sharing pictures, videos, text and audio. The Nerd Herd’s Discord runs different channels for their community based on all types of nerd culture including anime, games and fitness.

“We recognize that there is a whole bunch of different nerdy things. We have different channels in the Discord that cover things like Dungeons and Dragons, League of Legends, Warhammer 40K, Pokémon Go, art, console gaming, PC gaming and more. There’s a group for a whole bunch of nerds that go and work out at Planet Fitness and a group of people who just post pictures of their pets. If there is enough interest, we will make a channel,” McCann said. “We also have mental health resources too. We have a specific channel dedicated to mental health, so if people are struggling they could reach out and members of the group can help them.” Their Discord teems with a plethora of channels for any nerdy interest group. If a member has another channel idea, then the Nerd Herd will listen and add it.

The Nerd Herd wanted to have fun with their club. They brainstormed some ideas on how to liven up their club officer names and set themselves apart. “One of the things we wanted to do with the club is put nerdy titles like the High King of Skyrim on positions,” said McCann. “We actually made up all the role names 15 minutes before our first official meeting happened. We just like having different titles for our officers.”

The club’s officials are called the High Council. The High King or President is McCann, the Archmage or Vice President is Guy Daly, the Master of Coin or Treasurer is Cali Kiley, and the Master of Tournaments or Events Coordinator is Peyton Burnett. Not only is there a High Council but also the club has a township. The township consists of members who get elected as ministers for special interest subgroups called ministries. One of the ministries hosts a “drop-in” Dungeons and Dragons game every Thursday at 4:30 p.m. in the Student Center.

Currently, the club has a Ministry of Magic for the Magic: The Gathering card game, a Ministry of Dragons for the tabletop games like Dungeons and Dragons, a Ministry of Atari for console gaming, a Ministry of Keys for PC gaming, a Ministry of Arts for art sharing, and Ministry of Masks for media-related activities like movies or shows.

“We are trying to set up Dungeons and Dragons campaigns with other clubs. There is a natural resource club with which we can run a campaign where the goal is to make the world clean and unpolluted. There is a mental support group where we could run a game where you try to have a better mind and overcome mental challenges,” said Master of Coin Kiley. “We also had an idea of having a kids’ camp where we teach kids how to play games like magic.”

Other clubs are reaching out to the Nerd Herd as well. “We have a movie club who asked if we wanted to have an anime night. It was cool for us to be accepted like that,” Kiley said.

Their accepting and inviting attitude is palpable. They invite people into their Discord right away. “That’s one of the things we actually wanted to make a stand with, in the club, making sure that we had an inclusive space because there’s a lot of gate keeping in certain interests,” McCann said.

“I love the safe community where you can embrace your interests with no judgment, and you can find people with the same interests who support one another,” Kiley said.

The acceptance in the club has been a factor in its growth, a process which is usually daunting for a fledgling club. “It’s been terrifying; it’s like when you’re on a bike for the first time,” McCann said. “You know what you should be doing, and you know how it’s supposed to look, but you’re not sure if you can actually do that.”

The Nerd Herd is a place where students and community members alike are accepted and have fun with one another. The public can join in on meetings and play Dungeons and Dragons or other games but cannot take part in the voting process unless they are a student.

The Nerd Herd high council meetings and all club meetings alternate every other Thursday at 3:00 p.m. The next high council meeting is on Jan. 30, and the next all club-meeting is Feb. 6. Many Nerd Herd members also hang out in the Student Center on Tuesdays all day because that is when most of them have free time.

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