PULLMAN, Wash. - Looking to recruit more women, and perhaps date some sorority girls, the largest computer club at Washington State University hopes to hold a "nerd auction."
The idea is to trade their computer skills to sorority girls in exchange for a makeover and, possibly, a date.
"You can buy a nerd and he'll fix your computer, help you with stats homework, or if you're really adventurous, take you to dinner!" Ben Ford, president of the Linux Users Group, said on its Web site recently.
Ford acknowledged that some of the group's 213 registered members may not be ready for the auction block.
"The problem is that we're all still nerds. Let's face it, guys. If anyone's going to bid on us, we'll need some spicing up," he wrote. "And who better to help with that than sorority girls who like nothing better than a makeover?"
This all began as an effort to recruit more women into computer science programs, the Moscow-Pullman Daily News reported Tuesday. A public relations class decided to help by studying the social dynamics of the Linux group, which focuses on the use of the computer operating system. The students interviewed Ford and some others and created an online survey of LUG members, evaluating how they heard about the club, how they perceived the group and their reasons for being active or inactive.
"Our conclusion was that they need to promote themselves better, then specific ideas were presented to them," said professor Moon Lee, who taught the public relations class. "They made suggestions to work with specific groups such as sororities. Sorority groups tend to have a very good social network."
Ford initially was skeptical.
"When they said we should have a social with a sorority," he said. "I thought that was a joke."
Ford, who has an undergraduate degree in computer science and is pursuing a master's in business management, said the idea for the nerd auction came to him in the shower.
"Here's the current plan: We'll choose a handful of brave nerds to take one for the team," Ford wrote. "The girls get to have their way with them and we'll document each makeover.
"We'll make a snazzy video and show it over dinner. After the dinner, we'll auction off the now studly nerds," a hopeful Ford wrote.
The plan is to have the auction open to the general student population and co-sponsored by a sorority.
Ford has spoken to several sororities, but so far none has committed to the project, which he wants to do in October or November. A call to the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life at WSU by The Associated Press was not immediately returned.
Professor Carl Hauser has talked with LUG members about trying to increase the number of women in computer science at WSU.
"In our computer science program as well as in programs across the country, the percentage of women is at an all-time low," Hauser said. "Nobody understands what this is all about."
He has doubts about the nerd auction, though.
"We'll see," he said. "It's going to be fun, but its effectiveness — I don't know if it will increase the number of women in the program."
On the Net:
Does anybody else sense this is going to be a disaster?
At least Beauty and the Geek has auditions and producers that can actually have some control over the people and the outcome. Handing your geek selves over to a sorority house to "let the women have their way with you" and expect being taken to dinner as "adventurous" is like watching a train wreck waiting to happen.
Really. Seriously. Most of the women on here are a lot deeper and less prone to geek abuse than the sorority girl counterpart, but just watch what happens if I were to offer myself up:
If I were to offer you a night where you "get to have your way with me" in exchange for a makeover, what would you have me do?
1.) it must be possible.
2.) it must be reasonably legal.
3.) it must not harm anyone else.
Other than that, you're open.
(Note that this is not an actual offer, just a question.)