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Campus Characters: A Universal Student Experience

Villanovas+Global+Social+Justice+initiative+hosted+an+event+this+past+Thursday.+
Brian Luppy
Villanova’s Global Social Justice initiative hosted an event this past Thursday.

You know those familiar faces walking across campus? You’ve got them memorized, but you may not even know their names. You’ve almost certainly never actually spoken to them. But for some inexplicable reason, you seem to see them everywhere you go.

Two words: campus characters. Everyone’s got a few (or maybe even a few dozen). 

With an undergraduate population of almost 7,000, Villanova’s size allows it to fit snugly between small liberal arts schools and massive state schools, whose populations enter the tens of thousands and beyond. Despite the University’s so-called “medium” size, students often find themselves running into the same, unmistakable people time and time again. 

Whether it’s in Pit, Falvey or the Holy Grounds line at 10 a.m., you can bet you’ll see someone you recognize, or perhaps even someone you can’t seem to escape.

Freshman Grace Johnson commented on her experience with campus characters, also commonly referred to as “campus celebs.”

“I definitely have a few campus celebs,” Johnson said. “It keeps things exciting when I leave my dorm and walk to class. [I’m] like, ‘Am I going to see one of them or am I not?’”

Though many people have never interacted with their campus characters, they can become an important part of one’s day-to-day life. These “celebs” are often shared among friends and bring a bit of fun to daily activities. 

“Some of [my campus celebs] are random people I see around a lot, some are people I’ve seen on Instagram or TikTok, friends of friends or crushes of friends,” Johnson said.

While many campus characters are personal or inside jokes among friends, some are much more popular across the student population, functioning as many people’s resident celebs. These people stand out for a variety of reasons, including a large social media presence or heavy club involvement. For many, however, campus characters are simply people they see on a daily basis.  

“I see the same people everywhere,” freshman Ellie Leimkuhler said. “I have so many campus celebs.”

Though the experience of seeing the same people around campus daily may lead some to view Villanova as too small, Villanova’s smaller size means that students see not only unknown faces, but friendly ones in unexpected places. Whether you’re trying out a new club or strolling across campus, it’s likely that you’ll also come across people you know. 

“I still like the size of the school,” Leimkuhler said. “It’s fun and I have little stories about [my campus characters], so it’s fun to see them out in the wild. I also like running into my friends everywhere.”

It is for this reason that many students view Villanova as the seemingly perfect size: large enough to have that classic college feel and not know everybody, but intimate enough to consistently run into friends and reap the advantages of personalized interaction with professors and classmates. 

Campus characters are a classic part of any university experience. They allow for inside jokes among friends, bring a bit of excitement to daily life and ensure that strolling around campus is always entertaining. And who knows? Your campus character could just become a new friend.

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