“I”m part of a higher ed professional network, called geekEd. For the past 7 or so years, our group has participated as panel presenters for San Diego Comic-Con International. Our group has several folks who are subject matter experts (and self-identified geeks/nerds who fully embrace geek culture i.e. gaming, comic books, movies/films/TV, cosplay, etc.).
In past years we have presented on geek culture (and the tropes/metaphors) and how it speaks to students in dealing with bullying, feeling ostracized, identity development, and resilience. This year we will be presenting at San Diego Comic-Con again for four different panels (nerd identity as a part of intersecting identities, mental health, games/gaming, and geek culture in secondary education). If any of you are in San Diego on Sunday, July 23 from 11am to 3pm, this event is free and registration is open right now! (In other words, you do NOT need an ever-elusive Comic-Con badge to attend our sessions.) Any of us would be happy to speak with you about promoting such kinds of events for students (i.e. Geek Weeks, etc.).
There is a lot of work being done on geek culture not only as part of our American mythology and culture, but as allegory to social issues (even dissertations are being written on the topic). It’s a great way to connect with students from a contemporary culture perspective but it also relates to the emotions of feeling like “the other”.
Yes, students love it, but I’ve also found that faculty and staff love it, too! At UC Berkeley, we have a formal organization called Berkeley HEROES (Higher Ed Reading Org for Employees & Sidekicks) where we not only read a graphic novel each month (this past month we watched the movie Wonder Woman and read a recent WW graphic novel), but we also provide community service events to our campus’ student family housing. Our group has been around for three years now and is 70+ members strong!
If any of you are interested in more information, please send me a personal message and I can get you connected with other folks across the country who are doing this work.
Rodolfo “Rod” T. Santos
Residence Affairs Supervisor – Office of the Registrar
Campus Film Location Manager
Berkeley HEROES Co-Founder
University of California, Berkeley