Originally published Feb. 12, 2012
Sophomore Vincent Persichetti and his friends loved memes way before they became a hot topic at Grand Valley State University.
Persichetti, who made the Facebook site “Grand Valley Memes,” said he did not know the craze would spread as quickly as it did.
“I did not expect it to blow up this fast at all,” he said. “I posted four or five memes and sent it to my friends and next thing I know I came back from my class on Monday and we had close to 600 people. I believe that our meme page blew up faster than the other (university) ones did.”
The page had about 4,500 likes Sunday, and about 3,000 Facebook users had mentioned it in posts. More than 71,500 people from a number of countries had viewed the page by Friday.
Persichetti said he was inspired to make a GVSU meme page when he posted a satirical meme on the Facebook page about Kleiner Late Night. The meme was taken down by the administrators of the page, but not before receiving many ‘likes’ from students who found it relatable.
Persichetti said he was also inspired when he saw other people’s GVSU memes that were generic enough to apply to really any school, and he said he wanted to make some specific to the student experience at GVSU.
“I wanted to show kind of my Laker pride by adding a couple jokes that only Grand Valley people know,” he said. “These little things kind of show that we all have something in common. It’s a Laker experience.”
The Facebook page also attests to the cohesiveness of the GVSU community in particular, Persichetti said.
“We have more inside jokes than a lot of colleges,” he said. “We’re not as big but we still get a lot of likes, a lot of participation.”
The meme page creator said the site also shows outsiders and future Lakers different aspects of GVSU beyond the admissions tours. He said his roommate showed a prospective student the site and said, “This is the real experience. This is what it’s going to be like.”
However, Persichetti said nothing has been posted that could really turn people away.
“Nobody says anything bad about the professors or the classes,” he said. “I think that says a lot. No one complains about their major. No one complains about ‘you won’t get a job’ (with a GVSU degree). They only complain about the little things, things that aren’t gonna make you not wanna go to Grand Valley. I think its just because we have such a good school.”
The page also allows students a chance to vent about irritating daily experiences or, as Persichetti said, “cool things off” with the use of satire.
Persichetti said he and his roommates have been monitoring the site to make sure people do not post anything inappropriate or discriminatory.
“I wanna do whatever it takes to avoid that,” he said, explaining that he, as the page administrator, is liable for the material posted. “We do recognize free speech (but) we are from Grand Valley and there are certain principles we stand for.”
The team of students removes posts that are insulting to a particular person or group, irrelevant to GVSU or incorrectly made. Persichetti said students should not take it personally if their memes are taken down.
“So far what’s kind of good is that not many people have posted things that are really bad,” Persichetti said. “This means people at Grand Valley are actually considerate. Our page has shown that we don’t need be offensive to be funny. Our school is funny on its own.”
Persichetti said the site is now accepting rage comics.
Original publication: http://www.lanthorn.com/article/2012/02/grand_valley_memes_facebook_page_reveals_life_as_a_laker