September 30, 2011 | 7:30am
Despite its frat-tastic reputation, Arizona State University is one of the nerdiest places in the Valley, hands down. (After all, students play with atoms, construct intergalactic robots, and fiddle with laser beams.)
Then there's the fact that ASU's also the home of the ultra-cerebral local PBS affiliate Eight/KAET.
During ASU's Homecoming weekend next month, the university's braniac crowd will be reinforced by a throng of know-it-alls, geeks, and eggheads strutting along the Tempe Campus during the inaugural Arizona PBS Nerd Walk.
Eight/KAET's Bob Beard, who's organizing the walk, says its intent is to help bring together Valley geeks who are fans of the station's nerdier content.
The idea, he explains, is to have a place where "nerds and geeks and dorks and enthusiasts of all stripes" can participate in ASU's annual homecoming events. It will also act a promotional tool for the Valley PBS station, which has been a fountain of nerdy info since its founding in 1961, as well as the publicly-funded network.
The Nerd Walk participants will be incorporated into the ASU Homecoming Parade, which runs adjacent to the Tempe campus along University Drive between Mill Avenue to McAlister avenues. Beard's hoping for a big turnout, and is also sweetening the deal with a cool piece of schwag: A commemorative gold t-shirt featuring the PBS logo adorned with thick glasses, which will be given out to the first 100 people that register for the event via its website
"Everyone's a nerd for something, as we tend to think of ourselves as the place for really high quality - admittedly, a little bit nerdy - programming," he says. "The first American viewings of shows like Monty Python and Doctor Who came from PBS stations. We really want to get the word out and show how PBS has been a part of someone's everyday life. Even if someone doesn't watch Sesame Street because they don't have kids, chances are they were influenced by PBS broadcasting at one time in their life."
Beard's also hoping to enlist students and faculty from such nerdy ASU departments the Institute of Human Origins
or the School of Earth and Space Exploration
to participate in the parade.
"It's just because I'm a nerd for that sort of stuff. I'd really like to get them and march in the parade and wave their nerd flag as well," he says.
The Arizona PBS Nerd Walk takes place on Saturday, October 29, in Tempe. Participation is free. Visit the event's site for starting time and location.
Follow Jackalope Ranch on Facebook and Twitter.