Nerdfighteria—members of Nerdfighters—is a term used to describe the fanbase of Hank and John Green, two YouTube sensations who started their channel Vlogbrothers in 2007.
Hank and John embarked on what they called the “Brotherhood 2.0 Project,” where for an entire year the only way the two could communicate was through public YouTube videos. No calls, no texts, no emails—just videos. The channel grew extremely popular, and now boasts 2.7 million subscribers. While their original project has ended, the Green brothers still update their channel regularly, and have even sponsored and created several educational offshoot channels covering topics from science to healthcare to “adulting.”
As the channel became more and more popular, the brothers decided to involve their fanbase into charity work. The annual “Project for Awesome,” or P4A, is a day where Nerdfighters upload videos on YouTube to promote awareness for various charities. These videos are voted on, and the most popular receive money that is collected during a livestream hosted by the Green brothers.
The last P4A raised over 1.5 million dollars, which was split between charities such as She’s the First, Action Against Hunger, and the against Malaria Foundation, which is the organization that Goucher Nerdfighters supported this year. The online community also has an active Kiva page, and is associated with many other organizations, including the Gates foundation.
There are many Nerdfighters clubs across the U.S., especially in colleges. These clubs tend to revolve around three things: enthusiasm for “nerdy” things (although anything can count), charity fundraising, and raising awareness about important issues in the world. You don’t even have to watch the videos to join the club—you only need to be yourself and want to make good changes in the world. One of the missions of Nerdfighters is “to decrease world suck,” something that Goucher Nerdfighters regularly attempts to do.
One event that Goucher Nerdfighters participated in was the sticky note project. You may recall last semester during finals week that some areas of the Athenaeum were covered in sticky notes containing positive messages, jokes, and doodles. Each member of the club filled out four packs of notes—some even filling out five or six—and spread these notes around the building. The goal of the event was to give encouragement to those who were studying for finals, and hopefully brighten some people’s day.
“[My favorite activity] by far was doing the sticky notes and putting them up all around the Athenaeum,” Alex Rosas ‘19 said. “That was really satisfying, seeing everyone’s reactions to it.”
Katherine MacKie ‘17 agreed. “The smiles we put on the faces of everyone on campus was so rewarding,” she said.
Sarah Vogel ‘17 and MacKie, founders of Goucher Nerdfighters, inaugurated the club last semester.
“I have been a Nerdfighter since I first discovered Hank Green’s Crash Course videos when I was taking Biology in high school,” Vogel said. “I loved everything that he and his brother stood for, but in particular their passion for inclusion and their belief that all things in life can be made of awesome. They strive to teach their community to think broadly and complexly, to never devalue the world views and situations of others. They like to remind us all that anyone can be a nerdfighter, and that if you want to be a nerdfighter the fact is, you probably already are.”
“Sarah wanted to make a club that was inclusive and interesting, and I wanted to support her,” MacKie pointed out. “Everyone is so great and fun to talk to. I had no idea that there were so many people on campus that I would get along with easily. I am so glad I was able to meet everyone.”
One common theme I noticed when interacting with members of the club was an emphasis on how connected they felt with the other members.
“I like how awesome everyone is, it’s like, actually this really nerdy environment and its really fun. And it’s not like condasention nerdy, it’s like this good familial nerdy,” Erin Ertunga ‘19 said. “I’ve only been in the club for a few weeks, but my favorite activity is just going to meetings and talking to people. That’s the most fun.”
“I would say my favorite part of Nerdfighters is the community aspect; of finding people who are similar to me in terms of a love of nerd culture and nerd ideas,” Rosas said.
“I went to the Involvement Fair and saw the table, and I asked them what it was, and they said it was a bunch of Nerds getting together and making the world less sucky, and I thought that was a really great cause, so I joined,” Dalton Middleton ‘19 recalled.
If you are interested in becoming a Nerdfighter, contact Vogel at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Nerdfighters Club meets every other Monday in Welsh 128 at 8 p.m. Meetings are not mandatory, and the club is always happy to have new members. DFTBA—Don’t Forget to Be Awesome!