As college students battle distance education woes, rivalries and competition have found a new home on social media. Students have taken to TikTok to boast about their college campuses.
Most of the videos are set to the song Campus by Vampire Weekend. The track has a series of dramatic beats that TikTokers use to switch between images of their schools.
The trend largely rides on a nostalgic note, with many students pushed to attend classes away from their campuses.
Featured universities include Hawaii Pacific University, the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Chicago, the College of William and Mary, and Cornell University, which has become a crowd favorite for sharing similarities to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter series.
Highs and Lows of Campus Life
While most of the videos have been published to feature the best of their universities, some TikTokers have used it to showcase the not-so-scintillating side of their campuses, in a self-deprecating fashion.
“it’s literally the greatest photography school in the country but the ugliest campus” user @panic.erin said of the Rochester Institution of Technology.
it’s literally the greatest photography school in the country but the ugliest campus
An offshoot of the trend showcases campus food, with the best and the worst cafeterias across the country in the spotlight.
The audio is also being used to display outfit inspirations for the fall semester, something many students remain excited about despite the remote learning measures.
Undercurrents of Ivy-League Elitism?
Some users are concerned that the campus rivalry has slightly problematic undertones. Many were quick to point out that the videos highlight wealthy universities, with plenty of funding to enhance their campuses, while demeaning the capabilities of smaller schools and community colleges.
A TikTok user under the username @goblininfluencer added that some videos have an undercurrent of Ivy League elitism, where old legacy-filled campuses where students from wealthy families are over-represented.
“love your school & it should be a place where you’re happy but keep this in mind bc some of these vids r missing the point” her caption read.