|Nerd Nite celebrates coolness of being smart||| Print ||
|Written by Matthew Leroux|
|Friday, 20 January 2012 13:01|
Kitchener-Waterloo is set to become the second Canadian city to host Nerd Nite, an informal evening of presentations, trivia and socializing for self-described nerds.
Nerd Nite grew out of events in Boston in 2003 and spread as nerds moved away and started hosting their own events in new locales.
The movement is now based in 30 cities on three continents.
Nerd Nite Toronto’s boss, Virve Aljas, told thedailyplanet.com that the expansion of the event in Canada, mirrors its traditional growth pattern.
“You have centres where people come from somewhere else and they get involved in something like this. Then they move home and start it up there. We had people from Kitchener who were involved here and they realized it would be a great thing to have there because they didn’t want to drive all the way into Toronto.”
As the movement grows, Aljas credits its popularity to a changing social environment: it’s now cool to be a nerd.
“It’s acceptable to be smart again. We all hit a certain age where we didn’t want to be at the bar getting hammered, or in the living room with our friends, this is a nice in between. We’re socializing and meeting people with similar interests.“
Aljas said that the presence of post-secondary institutions makes a city a good fit for Nerd Nite, and that she expects to see it continue to grow across Canada.
“Cities like Kitchener and Halifax that have a large student population are prone to it, but especially cities where people stick around after university. It’s not just students that attend, there are post-grads and people in their early thirties.”
Toronto’s Nerd Nite averages around 80 attendees for their events at Tranzac.
Presenter Justin Besan, a University of Toronto biomedical engineering PhD student, told thedailyplanet.com that Nerd Nite’s relaxed atmosphere makes giving lectures fun.
“I had given one talk before to a general audience, it was kind of fun. I heard about this, it’s in a bar, and people have beer so the audience is more forgiving. They say the best audience is slightly drunk.”
Nerd Nite events feature lectures on various topics from urban astronomy to advances in microchip technology. The variety is something attendees told thedailyplanet.com is part of the appeal.
“I like the idea of coming out and hearing a bunch of people present interesting topics that could be about anything. You never know what you’re going to learn, the topics are so varied,” said Steven Joncas, an IT worker attending the event.
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