The man, the meme, the legend: An afternoon with ‘teh univursity of susex’
We sat down with the mystery person to discuss everything about the Facebook meme page
If you haven’t been living under a rock or buried in books for the whole time you’ve been at Sussex University, you may have heard of a pretty hilarious Facebook page known as ‘teh univursity of susex’.
The page satires everything in Sussex, from producing fake movie trailers to expertly cutting Sussex videos to make staff look like druggies if it can be made fun of it will. The page has almost hit 8,000 likes on Facebook and each video/meme gets hundreds of likes and comments.
But if we put aside all of the Adam Tickell memes and Brighton University banter, there is a person running the page who has kept their identity fairly secret since starting the page back in 2015. We have been sworn to secrecy and so we will code name the owner as ‘K’. I met up with ‘K’ on campus to see what made them tick.
I firstly asked whether this was working towards a big project. “Not really, I just do it because it is good fun and I love posting stuff with people sharing and commenting.
“I first started making funny pictures and videos for me and my friends and just thought that I would make a page to put them on. It got popular and then I just kept going on.”
I was surprised to find out that ‘K’s degree had pretty much nothing to do with the page. We both laughed and said that many people assume that ‘K’ would do media but this wasn’t the case at all. I began to wonder if anyone had identified him as the owner of the page.
“I think maybe around 20 people know who I am, the people I currently live with have no idea it is even me. I have had people ask me if it is me and I’ve had to pretend it isn’t.”
The secrecy surrounding the page is probably one of the biggest aspects of it. ‘K’ agreed: “The reason why it works” ‘K’ told me, “is because people attribute the stuff to the page and a entity rather as a person. If it was at a person, I don’t think it would have as much of a impact.”
The conversation started to focus on how ‘K’ has managed to keep anonymous all this time and if there was anytime that the real identity of ‘K’ was slipped. “I’ve had a few close shaves before, I once published something off my phone that had the location services on which I quickly removed. My family also knows that it is me and once threatened to put my name on the page as a joke.
“My page has also been brought up in lectures, seminars, and by a few friends and I’ve had to sit there stone faced.”
It’s clear to see that the meme page is popular among Sussex students, and so I asked what it was like having a brand that people enjoy and are very positive over: “It’s weird really, I used to use Yik-Yak a lot and my handle is the same name as my page and I would get people commenting on it saying ‘you’re great, keep it up’ etc and that is really nice.
“Of course because no one knows it’s me, no one treats me any different and so any recognition or ‘fame’ I get is through the page itself.”
Whilst popular with students, I wondered what the university thought of the page. After all, they are the butt of the joke.
“I often comment on posts by the university and they sometimes get deleted. It’s nice though to get people liking and commenting along with me.”
Vice-Chancellor, Adam Tickell, often becomes the centre of the memes created by the page. I asked ‘K’ if Adam Tickell has ever spoken to them: “Someone brought up my page to Tickell actually and he said that he really likes it. Apparently, his favourite thing I’ve done was the Harry Potter Sussex Trailer.”
As a personal admirer of Adam Tickell memes, I wondered if there had been stuff that hadn’t made it to the page. K said: “The ratio is probably around 80/20 with the stuff I post and don’t post. I’ll be sat in bed and an idea will just come to me, it’s hard to just sit down and try to plan it all out.
“The longest I’ve ever worked on a meme was the Michael Farthing rap, that took ages.”
‘K’ also told me that because of the page they have a job. “It could be something I could do full time after university”, ‘K’ told me.
As the afternoon came to a close, I asked the all important last few questions.
East Slope or Falmer Bar?: It has to be East Slope, I’ve spent a lot more time in there
Favourite night out in Brighton?: All you can eat buffet
Grubbs or Buddies?: Buddies