Jessica Ryan
Jessica Ryan

Now that you’re back in the swing of classes, settling into your new digs and being reminded of what altitude does to your alcohol tolerance, you’re probably looking for something to do. Well, why not do some good?

No matter what kind of nerd you are, taking the time to work to improve your community — on a local, national or global scale — is a great way to exercise your passions, strengthen your skills and nerd out with people you wouldn’t have otherwise met. Here are great opportunities to help the world in your own nerdy way.

All sorts of online communities have service or fundraising components. Take the Harry Potter Alliance, for instance. HPA examines the social issues covered in the Harry Potter series and looks to create solutions for those issues here in the Muggle world. The HPA has various campaigns, and there are many ways to help, from writing letters, to donating, to making a YouTube video.

Localized chapters have their own meetings and projects – Colorado State and University of Denver have collegiate chapters, but the only one in Boulder is for high schoolers. Fortunately, starting an HPA chapter is super simple (wink, nudge.) The HPA isn’t entirely Harry-focused, though; right now, they’re supporting an immigration campaign called “Superman was an Immigrant,” and have welcomed campaigns from other fandoms in the past.

There are also a ton of student groups at CU with a service focus. Alpha Phi Omega is a service-centered honor fraternity — its projects range from helping with the Green Stampede at football games to working with the Butterfly Pavilion for a gala. Other honor groups like Phi Sigma Pi (of which I was a member when I was at CU) and Sigma Iota Rho (the international affairs honor society) regularly have service projects, among other activities.

But you don’t have to be part of an honor fraternity or society to get involved on campus — the Volunteer Resource Center ( is an excellent place to find volunteer opportunities, where students are matched to projects based on their interests, skills and availability. The VRC partners with more than 250 organizations to help you find your perfect role.

Volunteering is the best way to take your nerdiest passions and skills and translate them into a project with impact. Whether you’re more into working with your hands, telling stories or cooking, there are plenty of service opportunities — and resources to help you find them — around campus.

So go on, geeks. Do good.

Jessica Ryan is a community manager and CU grad. She writes about nerdy things once a week for the Colorado Daily.