When the pandemic began in 2020, we had to move online. Zoom and Teams meetings became the norm for work, class and socialization. Although we are slowly returning to in-person events, connecting with peers is still difficult.
The sterile, professional online atmosphere makes it difficult to connect with peers. Social media and fandom culture are immersed in our day-to-day lives. However, there has been a rise in unofficial Instagram pages that have been popping up since the start of the pandemic.
Fandom accounts like @uhharries or @uhswifties and UH-specific accounts such as @uhconfessions and @uhmissedconnections, are just a few examples of pages that may have started off on Instagram but have led to fostering communities and a sense of belonging among students.
To say Harry Styles and Taylor Swift are popular would be an understatement. Their fans are among the coogs on campus, and they were quick to follow @uhharries and @uhswifties when the accounts were first started in 2021.
“I have seen firsthand how something as simple as sharing the love for the same artist can spark conversations that lead to friendships on campus,” said biology sophomore Noura Abu-Shami, who started @uhharries last year.
In addition to the Instagram pages, these fandoms also have GroupMe’s where members interact frequently. Although these aren’t official clubs, they have held get-togethers for members to meet and hang out.
“I started this account as a freshman, not knowing many people on campus yet and have gotten to meet a diverse selection of different students and organization leaders,” said Abu-Shami.
While the start and end of a semester can feel like a whirlwind, the middle comes with exams, assignments and stress. @uhaffirmations provides hilarious yet positive statements that are intended to help students at UH.
“UH affirmations provides a sense of community,” said geology junior Bailey Hodakevic. “Most of their posts will pop up in my feed because everyone reposts and likes them.”