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  • Collegian staff

Student-run social media accounts provide light-hearted relief

Updated: Oct 22, 2021

Benjamin Snell

Staff writer

shows instagram bio and highlights for the overheard at willamette account
Screenshot of student-run account Overheard Willamette's home page.

Since Willamette students have resumed learning this fall, Instagram has played a large role in taking away tension for both in-person and remote students through the form of student-run accounts.

Though not officially affiliated with Willamette, there are several social media pages that many students from the university have chosen to follow because of the content that they create. Posts made by pages such as @dankwumemes and @willamette_dog_watching have helped to provide some light and laughter in a time of stress. There are also pages relating to the university’s different departments, such as Headband’s acapella Instagram account, as well as certain majors having their own pages for students.

The many different accounts run by students also reach a broad range of students that attend the university. When interviewees were asked which accounts show up most on their feeds, the answers varied greatly. Isabella Lamb (‘22) said that she sees UpTop’s instagram account as well as the Collegian’s Instagram account the most, while Brady McDevitt (‘22) said that she sees the WU Events Board and the Bistro Instagram pages quite a bit. Shione Mochizuki (‘22) said she sees the Willamette dog-watching account, as well as Dank WU Memes and Overheard Willamette, the most on her feed.

Overheard Willamette is currently one of the most popular student-run accounts, having just a little over a thousand followers. People follow this account primarily for content based around quotes from students, oftentimes making for funny content. The account allows students to submit anonymous student quotes to the owner via DM, and they can be posted from there.

This account specifically has generated a lot of buzz around campus. When asked whether or not she thought people talked about quotes from the Instagram account outside of liking, commenting or sending the post to other people, Lamb said she thought it was pretty exciting for everyone when Overheard Willamette posted, and that it was especially exciting to see her or her friends quoted on the page.

McDevitt agreed with this sentiment, saying she personally has submitted to Overheard Willamette in the past. “I love submitting to Overheard Willamette because a lot of my friends say crazy things.” Other students talk about the account less in person and more online.

More recently, however, the page has been using their platform to uplift those who may be in need of support. For example, a post was recently made by the account that highlighted ways to provide relief for a student who lost their home from a fire, and provided resources for wildfire information in another. “They kind of post pretty regularly, and recently they’ve been posting donations more than regular,” Mochizuki noted.

When interviewed, Grace Crookham-Guy (‘21), the owner of the Overheard Willamette instagram account, gave insight into why she initially started the account. “I had kind of just heard things that people said, just like sitting at the mill stream, or at Goudy, or the Bistro. And I would share it with some of my other friends, and they thought it was funny.” From there, she started the account, with little expectation that it would grow to be as large as it is now.

Crookham-Guy also said that although she has received negative feedback in the past, it has been well-received and helped her gauge what to post at what point in time. She said that people have generally been pretty respectful, though she has encountered a couple of problems and a bit of negative feedback. “I’ve had some. And granted, some is warranted… and whenever it is warranted, I do my best to take accountability, and I’ll either take down a post, and repost it with an apology, or I’ll change my habits to make it more accessible.”

Crookham-Guy said that the sense of belonging a student-run account creates is one of the most rewarding parts of running it. She said that although it can be difficult, and is a lot more work than initially anticipated, “overall, [it is] way more rewarding than it is stressful.”

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