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Accuracy • Independence • Integrity

September 22, 2019   |   Ithaca, NY

Life & Culture

Students use Facebook page to share quotes they overhear on campus

Whether it’s featuring the latest wacky statement overheard in the Campus Center, a conversation about how to pronounce the word ‘bagel’ or memes speculating about the latest whereabouts of the Circles Burglar, the evergrowing Facebook group “Overheard at IC” has gained massive popularity on Ithaca College’s campus, with almost 6,000 members.

Former student Elizabeth McQuade ’10 created the public group in 2007 as a place for students to post the most outrageous statements they have overheard on campus. McQuade said she created the page over a decade ago and was surprised at how students’ posts made the page so popular.

“I think I started Overheard at IC at the beginning of my sophomore year,” McQuade said. “I was in the library and overheard a statement that kind of blew my mind at the time and used that as my first post to start the group. I invited my Ithaca Facebook friends, and it kind of took off from there.”

While McQuade is still the proud moderator of the group, she graduated from Ithaca a long time ago. Now, she’s married to another alum, Tim McQuade ’10. She said it’s been interesting to see the group evolve over time as younger students ask to join it.

“I mostly accept new members and try to monitor the posts that don’t belong on the group’s page,” McQuade said. “Occasionally, I will like a funny or interesting post. I haven’t been to the Ithaca area in about 3 years, so I can’t really contribute.”

McQuade said the “Overheard” page is also a unique way to keep alumni connected to the community. She said she sees people she graduated with commenting on or liking recent posts.

Ithaca College is not the only college or university that has an Overheard Facebook group. Cornell University, among other colleges around the country, has brought the Overheard idea to its campus. Cornell graduate student Shea Hunter Belsky is the main moderator out of six for the “Overheard at Cornell” page, created in 2012.

Belsky did not start the page. There have been a select few current students that have rotated into moderator roles over the years, and there are a few new moderators set to take over when Belsky graduates this month.

Ithaca College junior Jake Staffin is one of the most active members of “Overheard at IC.” He said he has posted a total of 64 times since he was a freshman. He said that in that time he had been fortunate to witness quite a few memorable quotes.

“Some of my personal favorites are ‘Pretend you’re Corbin Bleu and jump in’ and ‘There are two ways to pronounce bagel: bae-gull and the wrong way,’ both said in the diva lounge in Whalen; a professor of mine saying, ‘We’re halfway through the semester, or halfway across the river as I like to say. Except my boat is sinking’ on the first day of block 4 last year; and my personal favorite, ‘Yeah, turn that shit up, fam!!’ to the driver of a car passing by the Hill Center blasting a trap remix of ‘Somebody Told Me’ by the Killers,” Staffin said.

Other overheard gems include, “‘Okay stairs are, like, the weirdest things to try and get up and down.’ -brain fried student leaving the library” and, “‘My next door neighbor is getting laid and I’m sitting here eating a calzone.’ -Clarke Hall.”

But the site isn’t just used for documenting nonsensical happenings on campus. It also helps students rally around change. On Nov. 9, a student posted a picture of a sandwich made with moldy bread that she was served in Terrace Dining Hall with the caption, “What can I do about this?” The post got 122 reactions and even prompted parents of students to create a petition to review food services at the college. It has since received over 500 signatures.

Staffin said he would like to see some more ridiculous content on the page and less self-promotion. He said that several times this year, people have made political posts to start arguments. Staffin said he believes “Overheard at IC” should not become a general campus events page. Instead, he said, someone should create another group for every student at the college to talk about clubs, auditions for short films and theater productions and important information regarding events and general announcements.

“The issue with the page is that there isn’t really one big group that everyone at IC is a part of besides this group,” Staffin said. “It’s great to be able to connect with people across all graduating class years, but the page is getting cluttered with announcements about auditions or survey polls for classes.”

Staffin said there is a running joke in the group about who is the “King of Overheard at IC” due to the nature and frequency of their posts. He said group members created a poll to try and crown a “king” and “queen” of the group, but the members weren’t exactly interested in electing someone, deciding to discuss a popular meme instead.

“A recent poll went out in the group asking who would be the queen of this group due to the discussion of the king, but the public opinion was more in favor of discussing the recent rediscovery of a surgery performed on a grape from a few years back,” Staffin said.

Senior Jacob Sullivan, another person in the running for “King of Overheard at IC,” said he and his friends like to use the forum to post memes, jokes and overheard nonsense. He said he likes confusing the community and making his friends laugh.

“I post complete nonsense,” Sullivan said. “They probably come off as inside jokes. I like to give my friends in the know something to laugh at but something, at the same time, that will confuse random people. People usually just like them, or my friends use the post to create a hellhole of comments and replies.”

Senior Sam Lisker is another active member in the group. He discovered the Facebook page during his freshman year and said it became popular with his friends and roommates.

“It caught on pretty fast when my dorm hall figured out that it existed,” Lisker said. “Around that time, it was the source of some pretty hilarious quotes that students picked up across campus, as well as controversial discussions that students engaged in.”

Lisker is still fairly active on the page. He said his content is mainly meme-related, primarily because the school doesn’t have a meme page of its own.

“I use it mostly as a platform to post photoshopped images or memes containing references to current events on campus,” Lisker said. “My content isn’t necessarily ‘overheard,’ but since there isn’t an unaffiliated Ithaca College ‘meme page,’ this the only place, at the moment, where I can post my content.”

On the other hand, senior Kayla Hurowitz said she would like to see the page used for more serious matters. She said her favorite part of the page is when a lot of students show something that needs to be called attention to.

“I would like to see more people talk about what they care about on and off of the ‘Overheard at IC’ page,” Hurowitz said. “Even though people tend to hate callout posts and don’t enjoy the discourse that comes from it, I find the best post would be people calling attention to important political causes.”

Hurowitz said she appreciated a post about someone’s transphobic remarks overheard in IC Square because it called attention to intolerance. She said class pages like “Overheard” are fun but could also be useful in holding people accountable for offensive remarks.

“Not too long ago, there was a post about someone’s transphobic remarks in the Pub,” Hurowitz said. “As a trans woman, I hear remarks about that every day, so it was good to see it finally called attention to.”

Staffin said the “Overheard” page has become a big part of his life at the college. 

“The ‘Overheard at IC’ page is a pretty big part of student culture at Ithaca College, and I can’t wait to read future posts about funny and weird things said and seen on and near Ithaca College’s campus,” Staffin said.

Antonio Ferme can be reached at aferme@ithaca.edu