Geeking out at NerdFest2.0

At NerdFest2.0, it wasn’t unusual to see a man dressed in a full spandex suit wielding a plastic laser rifle. Whether it was science fiction novels, comic books or costumes, the event provided students a chance to explore their love for all things nerdy.

The free Stony Brook University festival brought together more than 200 students who packed the Student Activities Center Ballroom A on Feb. 13, 2015. The event began at 5 p.m. and ended at 10 p.m.

Tristen Terracciano, 18, donned a self-made costume of Zero, a character from the video game, “Borderlands 2.” The freshman computer science major had spent nearly $200 on the outfit, complete with a mock ray gun and body armor, which he said took 50 hours to make. The sacrifice was worth it, Terracciano said.

Tristen Terracciano, striking a pose and turning heads at NerdFest2.0. Photo by  Jimin Kim (Feb. 13, 2015).
Tristen Terracciano, striking a pose and turning heads at NerdFest2.0. Photo by Jimin Kim (Feb. 13, 2015).

“It’s always fun to see people’s reactions and whenever someone says, ‘Oh, I know that character,'” he said through his black mask. “It just brings a smile to my face. You can’t see it, but I’m smiling under here.”

Near the entrance was 22-year-old Anya Sklyarova. The biology and art major is a member of the campus club, The Science Fiction Forum, one of the campus groups that helped organize the event. She was busy placing cupcakes on a table for guests.

“I think it’s a really great idea because all of the nerd clubs, we share passions,” said Sklyarova, regarding the occasion. “That’s what makes us nerds and geeks.”

At the top of the ballroom was 19-year-old Bryan Hauser. The sophomore computer science major was the DJ at the event. He was playing music that sounded like beeping electronic tones reminiscent of music from classic video games. Above him was a projector screen that spanned nearly across the entire wall. A live video feed of the festivities shot from an iPad at the event played on the screen.

“I think it came together really well,” Hauser said. “I think it all sounds and looks very good if I must say so myself, to pat my own back, toot my horn and all that.”

Despite a few technical difficulties with the power outlets, Hauser worked with staff members from the SAC to keep the event rolling.

Meanwhile, Reuben Hoffmann, a 26-year-old graduate genetics student, was lugging six of his own personal board games across the ballroom. Each box of games was stacked on top of the other as Hoffman made his way toward one of the 10 tables in the center of the room. He offered tips to the students on how to play the games as more people congregated around the table.

Amid the chaos of NerdFest, one student tirelessly roamed around in her heels. Alice Quiros, 21, is the president of The SBU Gamers Guild, which helped assemble the event. Despite the frenzy of juggling her duties, Quiros was happy to see weeks of planning finally come to fruition.

“At the end of the day, just seeing everyone enjoying themselves, seeing people come in costumes for something you actually set up is just awesome,” said Quiros.

Alice Quiros, President of the Gamers Guild, was one of the masterminds who put NerdFest 2.0 together. Photo by Jimin Kim (Feb. 13, 2015).
Alice Quiros, president of The SBU Gamers Guild, was one of the masterminds who put NerdFest2.0 together. Photo by Jimin Kim (Feb. 13, 2015).

Members of Dumbledore’s Army, the Harry Potter club on campus, laid hot glue guns, sand paper and sequins across tables. They decorated wooden sticks to make them look like wands and offered them to students. Marion Johnson, 20, was busy at work designing a custom wand.

“We do wand-making at pretty much every event we’re asked to go to because it’s a big hit,” Johnson said, an English major, holding a hot glue gun in one hand, a wand in the other.

After two hours into the event, The High Cs, SBU’s all-male a cappella group, performed. Their collective harmony echoed through the ballroom, even catching the attention of students who were playing video games.

In a Facebook post, Quiros hopes to hold the event next year following the success of NerdFest2.0.

Screenshot courtesy of Facebook and the NerdFest2.0 event page.
Photo credit to Facebook and the NerdFest2.0 event page. Screenshot by Jimin Kim (Feb. 14, 2015).

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