Since GC Pride Tumblr went online last May, the site has received more than 125,000 hits. Gretchem Aikens ’12.5 created the site, an amalgamation of gifs depicting the tribulations, successes and unique moments had at the College.
“I’ve always been a Tumblr fan,” Aikens said. “I started out using it as a way to procrastinate… I noticed that reaction sites were starting to get popular, and I thought that Grinnell need[ed] one.”
Aikens started the site in May, shortly before the end of the semester. She said that initially the site didn’t get many hits, but after the fall semester began, the site stared to gain more followers and became very popular.
“It started as my own procrastination tool, but then it just took off,” Aikens said. “I’ve been getting really great feedback on it.”
The site accepts submissions, and most of the ones Aiken receives are from current students. Aikens said she really appreciates the submissions because they offer different perspectives on life at the College.
A lot of Aikens’ ideas for posts come from talking to her roommates and classmates about their experiences and frustrations being at Grinnell. Hannah Strom ’13 frequently sends in submissions to the site, and she finds inspiration in similar ways.
“I’ll look at gifs, get a collection by searching for Harry Potter or something, and if one of them reminds me of something, I’ll send it in,” Strom said. “Or sometimes my friends and I will be talking, and if there’s anything that gives us an intensely emotional relationship, we’ll look for gifs to represent that feeling.”
GC Pride Tumblr has spread across campus and became an integral part of the community, with students constantly talking about it and posting its gifs to Facebook. The posts are about communal frustrations in the Grinnell community, but they’re about more too.
“The posts are about things that make us happy too,” Aikens said. “We can post them and everyone can relate…[they] allow us to express our feelings, vent about things that everyone feels and can relate to, and the frustrations that are already posted about, we can share them and bond over them.”
Aikens sees bigger potential in the site.
“It can be a cool way to get the word out about Grinnell,” she said.
Aikens is currently finishing her last semester doing Grinnell-in-Washington and is looking for job prospects in the DC area for post-graduation. But don’t fret—she will keep up the page after she graduates, so Grinnell will never be without its supply of unique gifs. Find some #GCPride at gcpride.tumblr.com.