North Texas Daily

Geek Out: unique UNT clubs for all

Geek Out: unique UNT clubs for all

Geek Out: unique UNT clubs for all
March 04
03:05 2014

Nicholas Friedman // Staff Writer

Whether it’s enjoying  Star Wars films and Doctor Who episodes or discussing the cosmic creations of author H.P. Lovecraft, unusual and creative clubs on the UNT campus offer an outlet for anyone willing to join.

With more than 300 groups on the UNT campus, clubs give students a chance to participate in something intriguing as well as offer an avenue to find others with similar interests.

The UNT Star Wars Club, Cthulhu Club and the Nerdfighters fall into this category and welcome diehard fans, newcomers or even those just looking to learn something new.

One with the force

With a shared love for all things in a galaxy far, far away, the UNT Star Wars Club, as the name would suggest, talks about all things Star Wars. The group also covers other fandoms, meeting every Tuesday at 7 p.m. in room 120 of the Environmental Science Building, according to RTVF senior and vice president Britney Carroll.

“We watch science fiction films like Star Wars of course, and talk nerd stuff,” Carroll said. “We’re all pretty big fans of the Internet. We’ll usually start the meetings by playing some random YouTube video like “Crazy Naked Guy Streaks American Ninja Warrior Course” or one of the Honest Movie Trailers just to get conversation started.”

Carroll said that the group has about a dozen core members with 30 newer members who attend meetings regularly. Carroll said the group also plays games at the club’s meetings on some occasions.

“One time we had a charades night where we had to act out words like ‘Poké Ball’ or ‘Cthulhu,’” Carroll said. “The other Star Wars Club members still pick on me for my performance of ‘escalator’ during that game.”

Carroll said that the club often has movie marathons, watching series like Lord of the Rings or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in addition to Star Wars.

“The worst moment as a club member was the entirety of our Twilight Saga movie marathon,” Carroll said. “It was nearly impossible for some of the members to keep up with all of the vampires’ names. It gave us some good laughs though.”

The call of Cthulhu

Inspired by the posthumous feats of horror fiction author H.P. Lovecraft, the UNT Cthulhu Club, which meets Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. in the Sage Hall common room, aims to teach members about each of the author’s works and discuss the influence he has on modern horror culture.

The creature Cthulhu, according to a 1928 research article written by Lovecraft titled “The Call of Cthulhu,” is described as a god-like being with a pulpy, “tentacled” head and a scaly body with rudimentary wings.

“Lovecraft is easily one of the most underappreciated influences in genre fiction, particularly horror,” English senior and club creator Ian Nafziger said. “His visions and theories of cosmic indifference and the ultimate insignificance of human existence have proven to have a long-lasting effect on how horror writers and filmmakers approach the genre and create their characters.”

Each week, Nafziger said, the topic of discussion varies depending on what piques the group’s interest. The group often discusses anything from the mechanics of horror to video games and movies influenced by Lovecratian design such as John Carpenter’s “The Thing” and “In the Mouth of Madness.”

“I also make a point to highlight contemporary artists week after week aside from Lovecraft,” Nafziger said. “This semester’s spotlights include Laird Barron, Ramsay Campbell, Joe Pulver and Thomas Ligotti.”

Nafziger said that while the club currently has only five active members they are always looking to accept new members unfamiliar with Lovecraft and his disciples and expose them to the horror genre.

“The best way to get the experience of the club is to come and see it for yourself,” Nafziger said. “I promise we won’t try to sacrifice you to any eldritch gods.”

A place to be yourself

Nerdfighters, according to library science senior and club president Laurel Alexander, is a club of 130 members strong that meets every other Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Sage Hall Room 230. There, students can meet to talk about almost anything they love.

“The Nerdfighters offer a safe space for nerds to come and feel welcome with themselves,” Alexander said. “We wanted to offer something larger than sitting with their laptops at home.”

The Nerdfighters movement, according to the official website, was started by award-winning author John Green and his brother Hank who runs EcoGeek, a technology blog. Alexander said that the work they did inspired the creation of the UNT sect of Nerdfighters.

“They started with a year of textless video blogs on their YouTube channel,” Alexander said. “They kept going afterward and built a following around the idea that even though they were adults they were still giant nerds and this became energizing for a lot of folks.”

Alexander said that the group hopes to participate and volunteer in events after recently helping to put together Mini A-Kon, an anime convention that was held at the Denton Civic Center this past February.

Alexander also said that the group would be working with the Denton Animal Shelter in the next few weeks with hopes of doing more charity work in the future.

Club adviser and UNT residence life coordinator Eugene Frier said he first approached the club with the interest of joining its cause.

“I became the adviser when I heard about the club from some students on campus,” Frier said. “I reached out to the leadership of the group at the time and told them who I was, why I believed in what they were doing, and that I would love to help however I could.”

Frier also said that the club discusses many things but recently they have been talking about Doctor Who and the new Disney animated feature Frozen.

“We try to stay away from the fandom of a lot of things,” Alexander said. “If we let that happen then things basically end up like the end of Mean Girls.”

Feature photo: Storm Trooper Prop costumes from the movie series on display at a Star Wars Identities exhibition in Lille, France. Photo courtesy of  Maxppp/

About Author

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman is the Editor In Chief of the North Texas Daily. In addition, he's had his work published at The Dallas Morning News, GuideLive and the Denton Record-Chronicle.

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