There are many ideas that make Bates a small, tight-knit community. Some are perpetuated by the faculty, some by the administration, and some (arguably the best) by students. Things such as the Puddle Jump, Newman’s Day, Bobcat Den Delivery, and many more unify Bates students together. One of these ideas are meme accounts such as @therealbatesbollege and @batescommonscrushes. A couple weeks ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing the owner of the account @batescommonscrushes. As a first-year when everything on campus is new, one of the things we hear about is ‘commons crushes’.
One student their freshman year thought the same thing. As a first year, they heard about the idea of commons crushes, and thought it might be fun to create an account that allows people to submit their crushes. Through their Instagram page (@batescommonscrushes), people can DM their latest common crush. Whether it’s a joke concerning a friend, or a real crush, it allows people to foster a sense of shared humor around campus.
Sitting at almost 900 followers, C has a wide reach to the school’s students. When I asked what exactly led to the beginning of the account, they revealed that it was around Valentine’s Day of their freshman year when they got the inspiration to start this account.
C tells me that they never really expected the account to take off, and for the most part, its success has been unprecedented. “For me, the most surprising thing about running this account is that people actually submit”, C confessed, “And they have continued to submit”. Two years ago, C thought that this account might die out over the summer, especially since people wouldn’t have seen each other for a few months. But indeed, it continued throughout the season, and has progressed for the past couple years. C elaborated that it’s a “sweet surprise whenever a new freshman follows the account”.
When I asked about why they started this account, they explained that it is a fun concept and it “adds a bit of spice” to their life. Another reason for the account, they said, was because “Freshman year sometimes made [them] feel out of place, so having something that made [them] integral or a big part of the Bates experience allowed [them] to contribute to the community around them”. As a first-year, I can attest to the fact that this new change in surroundings, classes, friends, and really just your lifestyle can make one feel lost. Running this account (and several more) allowed C to feel more at home at Bates, and continues to foster a sense of community for them and for a large part of the student body that follows this account or direct message submissions to it.
Bates is about the people, and @batescommonscrushes definitely flourishes through that idea. But, C also expands that although Commons Crushes is a fun idea to joke around with, having this account allows them to have a “secret power” of their own. “Sometimes it can definitely be a good way for students to get their actual opinions out there… that might help contribute to a sense of community”, C adds, “there really is not that many other ways to have that wide of a reach, so having a platform where I reach a thousand odd people is kind of cool you know? I could make a post about an issue and people would see it, people would have an opinion.”