TCU Nerdfighters looking to “increase awesome”

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    An unofficial TCU group called TCU Nerdfighters is fighting to increase awesome and decrease “world suck,” Sarah Debus, creator of the group, said.

    Nerdfighters is an online community that arose from John and Hank Green’s Vlogbrothers videos on YouTube.

    John Green, a best-selling author of young adult fiction, and his brother, Hank, first began making YouTube videos in 2007 as a means to communicate with one another. John states in one video that they do not actually fight nerds, but are “clearly pro-nerd.”

    Debus, a junior nursing major, created the TCU Nerdfighters group on Facebook in September 2012 after receiving responses to her DFTBA (Don’t Forget to be Awesome) sign she posted in the window of her dorm room. The sign is one of the symbols of the Nerdfighters.

    Debus said the group has not done much yet and have only gathered a few times to meet new members, drink coffee, chat or do crafts. There are now more than 60 members.

    “I don’t know if we want to be an official TCU organization. There are a lot of hoops you have to jump through,” she said. “I feel like one of the strong points of ours is that we’re really relaxed and laid back, and activities and participation are not required.”

    Nerdfighter member Annie Nelson, a first-year pre-major, attended a coffee chat session in the beginning of the year. She said she thinks the recent popularity and upcoming movie release of John Green’s best-selling novel, The Fault in Our Stars, has brought more attention to Nerdfighters.

    Devin Reeves, a sophomore psychology major, said she joined the TCU Nerdfighters online group last year.

    Reeves said Nerdfighters are “people who are not made of bone or people stuff, but people made entirely of awesome.”

    Reeves said she likes watching the Vlogbrothers’ videos because they are funny, but also because they touch upon topics that are politically and environmentally educational.

    “They try to not pass judgment,” Reeves said. “As much as they can, they try to teach empathy for everyone else. Teach people to be themselves. Above all, be yourself and be unapologetic about being yourself.”

    There are many other Nerdfighter groups across the nation, including groups at the University of Texas at Austin and Texas Tech University, as well as a regional group in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

    Debus said she has been talking with these college Nerdfighter groups about meeting in Waco next year.

    Debus said she wants the TCU Nerdfighters to have more meetings in the future and participate in service events, like volunteering for the Tarrant Area Food Bank. Debus has already participated in community service with the Dallas Nerdfighters group by volunteering at a food bank and donating money for people in third-world countries.

    “We do a lot of community-based things, getting out there, getting to know people that have interests like us, but we also have a lot of emphasis on service and decreasing world suck,” Debus said.

    “I like being a part of the community that changes the world, and is active in the world. It’s out there and you physically see the responses from it,” she said. “It’s just an excuse to be awesome and meet awesome people and make the world awesome.”

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