McCormick students create viral online meme page

Meghan Morris

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Two McCormick freshmen created a Facebook page Tuesday night to share Northwestern-themed memes, viral Internet pictures with one-liners accompanying the images.

Santiago Nielsen and Samir Helmy put up the page at 9 p.m., and 24 hours later, the page had more than 2,000 likes and more than 250 memes, mostly student-generated.

“We expected maybe at some point it would grow but not this quickly,” Nielsen said.

The two students thought of the idea during dinner Tuesday night, set up the page and sent the link to their fraternity brothers and the International Student Organization. From there, the page went viral, with students posting pictures that have hundreds of likes.

This page is so popular, the creators said, because it appeals to both specific niches and NU as a whole. Alex Zhu, a McCormick sophomore, created three memes in the past day, including one that combined a picture of a puppy on the top half that reads “Practice tests” and a picture of a crazed wolf on the bottom with the words “Actual midterm.” To date, 117 people liked this picture, which he attributes to widespread midterm frustration.

“The page made people realize that as NU students we have more in common with each other than we thought we did,” Zhu said. “We’re one unified community who goes through very similar experiences.”

Medill sophomore Connor Sears said the Facebook page spread quickly because many students, including himself, are familiar with reddit and other meme websites.

“It’s fun to participate and laugh at something that applies directly to our school,” he said.

A few memes have generated online controversy, such as one with a stock photo of a generic “freshman” that said “Rushed Lodge. Now a GDI (God D*mn Independent),” alluding to the fraternity Chi Psi’s closing. The page creators said they have received complaints that memes have been used incorrectly, but said they are not meme-making experts and want to leave the page open.

“People are getting overexcited or judging us, but we don’t really care because we’re not experts as they claim to be,” Helmy said.

mmorris@u.northwestern.edu

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