Is being geek really chic?

Tyler Hoffman, Executive Editor

The geek-chic fashion trend has certainly enjoyed a steady popularity increase since the mid-2000s; however, does that mean society is ready to positively perceive what many consider to be a derogatory stereotype? The Daily, Case Western Reserve University’s digital newsletter, is apparently ready to make this leap.

Earlier this month, The Huffington Post re-published’s 2013 ranking of the geekiest colleges. ( is a lifestyle website targeted at college-age women.) Because Case Western Reserve appeared in the top ten list, The Daily published a link to the The Huffington Posts’ version of the ranking in its Oct. 14 edition.

But is being among the nation’s geekiest colleges something to tout in the official university newsletter? I’m not so sure.

The Huffington Post opted not to include the descriptions penned by for each ranked instituion. And a quick trip to the original article reveals why; the website pulled no punches when deciding which schools, for better or worse, made the list.

“While one student on StudentsReview gave the school a A- for Educational Quality, Case Western bombed the Social Life category with a big, fat F,” wrote. They also directed users to the Urban Dictionary definition of Case Western Reserve, which states the campus’ men believe “having a better computer is more important than a girlfriend.”

Clearly that author doesn’t appreciate geek-chic either.

I’m a firm believer that Case Western Reserve needs to move away from its geek-ridden reputation. Does this mean the university should steer clear of intelligent students when recruiting? Absolutely not. Does it mean it should strengthen its search for well-rounded, as well as intelligent students? You bet.

Since my freshman year, Case Western Reserve has done an increasingly better job at attracting and enrolling students who see their academic career as only a portion of their overall college experience. But there is more work to be done.

There are still too many undergraduate students who believe a study session in Wade Commons proceeded by a few good hours playing League of Legends makes for the perfect Friday night. There are too many students who would rather read a book than talk to a peer. There are too many students who prefer isolation to collaboration.

There are numerous student organizations at Case Western Reserve that struggle to fill their membership rosters, and the same overachieving undergraduates are left to fill several leadership positions at once.

The university needs more well-rounded students who accentuate their academic career with leadership roles, hobbies and social activities. After all, scholastic achievement is not the sole benchmark of the student experience. But it is the only one for which Case Western Reserve is nationally known.

Tyler E. Hoffman