Nerd House’s Magical Yule Ball

How Haverford’s Nerd House becomes Hogwarts for a night

By Chris Xue

Every child who grew up with Harry Potter dreamed of attending Hogwarts and living through all the magical adventures it held within. They’d stare out windows and peek into mailboxes in hopes that their Hogwarts letter will come to them. Maybe instead of getting an owl to deliver the letter they’d get a Hogwarts professor to deliver it instead.

Unfortunately for these children, their Hogwarts letters never came in the mail, much less from one of the famous characters in the franchise.

However, if you happened to attend Bryn Mawr, Haverford, or Swarthmore Colleges, then you would have had a chance to attend Haverford Nerd House’s Yule Ball event which was just as magical as the books were.

Haverford’s Nerd House is a specialty dorm on the main campus. Its specialty is anything nerd related. Ranging from obscure tabletop games to large franchises like Harry Potter. No matter what it is, Nerd House has got it covered.

Throughout the semester they host events that fit in different parts of nerd culture. For the dramatic book-lovers there’s a murder mystery night. For the more active gamers there’s a laser-tag night. Then, at the end of the semester, there’s the Yule Ball for the Harry Potter fans.

Nerd House’s goal isn’t just to cater to nerds. Ever since its formation six years ago, members have wanted to share their interests with the rest of their fellow students. All these events are open for students from any the three sibling colleges. Anyone who has any amount of interest is welcomed with open arms.

The Yule Ball is a special case amongst all the Nerd House events. Haverford once had a Winter Formal, which served as the fall semester’s large dance. Anyone who wanted to relax and party before finals attended. Around the same time of year, Nerd House’s Yule Ball would be held in the small common room of Nerd House. It was a small and low-key event.

Late fall of 2017, Nerd House got some special news. It would be getting a budget increase for their event!

But there was a catch. Continue reading

Welcome to Nerd House


By Stephanie Marrie

Pokémon Night

One rainy night, students from Bryn Mawr College cross the bridge to a small, two-story house next to a soccer field. It is 8 p.m. at the Yarnall House on Haverford College. Tonight’s events revolve around Pokemon, the popular kids show that captured the hearts of these college students when they were little.

Unsurprisingly, there is a huge and noisy crowd. The main hallway separates two rooms, a kitchen and a TV area, both of which are packed. In the kitchen, six young men are playing their 3DS systems simultaneously. There is a picture of Pikachu taped to the wall, with several different paper tails to pin on her. In the hallway, seven others sit on the carpet. They take turns on an old board game based on the show’s second season. In the TV room, the rest of the club members play various mini-games from “Pokémon Stadium 2,” a classic from the Nintendo 64.

Students at Nerd House

Students at Nerd House

After that, two of the four players, one boy and one girl, decide to hold a one-on-one match. Once word gets around that there will be a Pokémon battle, all four floral couches in the TV room quickly fill up with commentators. When the female player picks out her monster, Jynx, the audience is shocked.

“Jynx is the biggest drag-queen,” one onlooker quips. The girl is undeterred, even though her chosen character is beaten easily. She used to play this game with her younger brother, and simply wants relive her most competitive years.

This is the only place on campus where she and other closeted video game enthusiasts can come together to have such fun. It may not have been around for long, but according to those in charge, its history says much about the nature of a geeky community that is part of the Haverford and Bryn Mawr sub-culture.

Yarnell, one of Haverford’s residence halls, become their official place to hang together. It is known — officially and unofficially — as Nerd House.


It is the year before the birth of the Nerd House, and Yarnall’s atmosphere is more sports-oriented. Kamala Codrington has just been admitted into the school. By the next spring, she will become one of the first members to sign up for the Nerd House. At this point, she has only heard stories about the Yarnall House, but apparently only because Lacrosse players live there.

“They stand out because of their rowdiness,” Codrington says of the relationship between the sportsmen and the Department of Residential Life.

After the jocks move out, the place grows quiet. The TV room is empty, save for a few obscure DVDs lying against the plain white walls. One student, Tatiana Hammond, tries to take advantage of this new atmosphere by proposing a sanctuary here. She wants to hold Yoga lessons but, unfortunately, her plan is not accepted. Nothing else happens here for a long time except for the occasional superhero movie night, like Superman or Spiderman.

“Nobody goes to see them,” Hammond sighs. “It’s weird because they were pretty popular when they first came out.”

Jocks and movie buffs, however, are not the only major players on campus. Daniel Plesniak, founder of the Nerd House, is one of the few freshmen who likes to game as a hobby. Although he does not think Haverford College is unaccepting of people like him, he feels that sometimes its acceptance is not enthusiastic. So, he sought to create his own space. Continue reading