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Rutgers hosts third annual Geek Week

<p>Attendees flock to the Life Sciences Building on Busch campus Saturday to watch demonstrations set up by student organizations.</p>

Attendees flock to the Life Sciences Building on Busch campus Saturday to watch demonstrations set up by student organizations.

The word “geek” is defined two ways according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: A person who is intelligent, but socially awkward and unpopular, and a person who is interested and invested in a particular field or activity.

Of these two definitions, “geek” was initially defined as the first — the geek was an intelligent, but socially inept being.

The momentum of the geek as an asset of popular culture has transformed the word into a positive image for people — it became a label for a person, who breathes, eats and sweats any TV series, films or music he or she is truly passionate about.

This growth and awareness of the geek culture went hand-in-hand with the popularity of local geeky conventions such as New York Comic Con and AnimeNEXT.

New York Comic Con, in its seven-year existence, has seen an attendance increase about four times. It started off with 33,000 people in 2006, and accommodated about 133,000 people last year.

AnimeNEXT, in its 11th year of existence, increased tenfold from more than 1,000 attendees to more than 10,000.

And now, the convention craze creeps into Scarlet Knight turf with the third annual Rutgers Geek Week, “Geek Week: Episode III.”

Occurring throughout the week of March 23, “Geek Week: Episode III” was a result of collaboration between many Rutgers organizations such as Rutgers University Programming Association, RU-SciFest, The Intergalactic and Mystical Enthusiasts, Rutgers Underground Gaming Society, Scarlet Cross and Bemani Invasion.

Throughout the week, there have been events celebrating nearly all sects of geek culture ranging from “Firefly,” an action-packed space-Western series with a cult following, to the more widely known “Mythbusters,” a series featuring a team of scientific crash-testers searching for the scientifically possible in pop culture.

Geek Week also featured scientifically packed events and panels such as the 3-D Printing Lecture with Francis Bitonti, a renowned digital fashion designer, a scientific fiction ethics panel and the Rutgers Science Festival, arranged by the Rutgers Astronomical Society President Andrew Yolleck.

 “It was a complete coincidence that SciFest fell during Geek Week, but we still worked together for advertising and sponsoring,” he said. “We are glad to be a part of Geek Week, but we have slightly different visions: We want more science in Geek Week as well.”

Ariana Blake, one of the coordinators of Geek Week, considers a geek to be a person who is interested in an alternate reality, fantasy, story or other forms of media. This means the label of geek can be applied to any type of person of no particular intelligence or social awkwardness.

“Rutgers Geek Week was about two things: bringing geeks together through events and exposing non-geeks to geek culture,” said Blake, a School of Arts and Sciences junior. “It became even bigger this year as we achieved to make it something recognizable to people outside of Rutgers.”

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