Student-run meme accounts take off in followers, student interaction
‘Nobody knows who’s running it and they just interact with it anyways.’
Crunchy quinoa, unmelted cheese and a “mystery roll” — these are the TDR menu items that inspired freshmen Samantha Merar-Osborne, in the School of International Service, and Emily Solheid, in the School of Public Affairs, to create the Instagram page TDR Food Reviews.
TDR Food Reviews is just one example of student-led social media accounts that have garnered hundreds to thousands of followers by posting memes or other content on Instagram.
Merar-Osborne and Solheid said they found the situation funny and decided to take pictures of their food and begin uploading them to Instagram in September.
TDR Food Reviews, which documents both good and bad student experiences at TDR and provides ratings for different menu items, currently has over 700 followers.
The page features student submissions, as well as posts created by Solheid and Merar-Osborne.
Merar-Osborne said she had the idea to create TDR Food Reviews after running a similar page in high school, and believed that “TDR needed its own.”
“We try to keep [TDR Food Reviews] unbiased,” Merar-Osbourne said. “Like it’s just people saying their thoughts on what they eat, and sometimes it’s positive and sometimes it’s negative.”
Other student-led social media accounts, including @bigbootyaustudent, @wonkaffirmations and @overheardamericanu declined to comment.
The owner of @bigbootyaustudent, a meme account with just over 2,000 followers, wrote in a direct message to The Eagle: “gotta keep up my sexy mysterious meme page admin vibe, ya know.”
Paulina Tes, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs, runs the Instagram page @au.squirrels, which documents the lives of squirrels around campus.
Tes said she created the page after seeing many other universities with similar ones.
“I follow them because they’re so heartwarming and so cute,” Tes said. “I looked [it] up to see if AU had one, and they did but it had been inactive. ... So I was like, we need an AU squirrels account.”
@au.squirrels, which has just over 250 followers, posts photos and videos of squirrels daily. While Tes creates the captions, the majority of content comes from student submissions.
Her ultimate goal for @au.squirrels is for the page to make other people feel better when looking at it, Tes said.
“Whenever I look on the other pages, and I see the cute little squirrels it makes my day,” Tes said. “Even when I’m just walking to classes and stuff, and I see them ... it’s a little dose of happy in my life. So, I just like that other people can enjoy the same things I enjoy.”
Solheid has a similarly lighthearted goal for TDR Food Reviews. According to Solheid, running the account has made eating on campus fun.
“Our whole group of friends knows and has a fun time when we take pictures of their food,” Solheid said. “They say stuff and we can quote it.”
TDR Food Reviews has since expanded beyond just covering TDR and now features both on or off-campus food reviews, including WONK Burger, Wendy’s and the Eagle’s Nest.
“It’s just like pretty much wherever we choose to eat at night,” Solheid said. “We’ll just kind of randomly post it and call it TDR.”
Another student-run Instagram page, @challengeacceptedcat, records the life of what some students have started to call Challenge Accepted Cat — also known as Chuckie — a stray cat that has recently made an appearance on AU’s campus. Many students see the cat as AU’s “new mascot,” according to the page’s bio, taking over from the still-missing Wonk Cat.
Jael Azani, a senior in the School of Communication and the School of International Service, is currently fostering Chuckie and posting updates to the account. The page features student submissions, as well as pictures taken by Azani.
Azani said that running the account is fun because Chuckie has “that old man personality.”
“Everyone is kind of rooting for him and I really like that,” Azani fsaid. “You don’t see a lot of people caring about old sick, feral cats out there. So it was really heartwarming that more people than me just cared … I don’t feel like a weird cat lady now.”
Likewise, Merar-Osborne said her favorite part about running TDR food reviews is the student submissions.
“I just like the fact that nobody knows who’s running it and they just interact with it anyways,” Merar-Osborne said. “They have no idea who they’re sending their food reviews to, but they just know it’s gonna be posted.”