Out of 463 college subreddits in 18 countries and 48 U.S. states, RIT has the largest, most active community of them all. The winners of the Grow A College Subreddit Competition, held August 20 to October 26, RIT came in first place in three categories: overall growth, weighted growth and favorite subreddit of other Reddit administrators. Judges measured growth by overall traffic, activity and subscriber growth as well as “growth in number of subscribers … [in relation] to the school’s undergrad enrollment,” according to competition rules presented in the Reddit Blog.
RIT’s subreddit, created 2 years ago by now-inactive moderator, John Resig (Jeresig), had only 20 subscribers and half of a page full of posts when 2011 graduate, Bart Scully, stumbled upon it. Active moderators, like third year Marketing student Julia Reagan (titsntats), have helped the subreddit compete with much larger universities such as University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Waterloo. Reagan, who fought to get the word out about RIT’s subreddit, anxiously awaited the results of the competition. “With a small Twitter following base, Facebook and word of mouth have been a big part in letting people know about the subreddit,” says Reagan as she recalls the long list of methods used to spread word around campus. Putting her heart and soul into her position on the subreddit, she was ecstatic as the final numbers placed RIT on top, growing from 1,600 subscribers in August to approximately 2,840 current subscribers.
For those who haven’t already subscribed, Reddit is a social news website hosting many pages on endless amounts of topics, called subreddits, which are represented by /r/subreddit title. According to Reagan, “There is literally a subreddit for anything. There’s a subreddit for cats, different animals and just everything.” One subreddit she recommends is /r/rochester, a subreddit for the entire Rochester community. There’s also /r/ritcirclejerk, a subreddit run by other RIT students, allowing members to make fun of the many RIT stereotypes and let off a little creative steam.
You can find the subscribers’ obsession with the campus fountains among the different posts on /r/rit, including the bubbling centerpiece between the academic buildings and Global Village, which is now home to a very random set of boulders. You can also find mentions of a Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man, RIT President Bill Destler’s recent video “Faces of GM — Bill Destler” and, of course, the eternal gripes about the lack of girls on campus. There are also the meet-ups, which may be going out for ice-cream, bowling or just hanging around, which happen twice a quarter, the first of winter quarter being December 9. If you get the chance, ask Reagan about “Brickception.”
Though she works hard to keep the subreddit clean and appropriate, Reagan loves the fact that “Reddit gives subscribers the power to moderate themselves,” using a systems of upvotes for approval and downvotes for dissent. Keeping up with the theme of Brick City, this systems uses “upbricks” and “downbricks” on RIT’s subreddit. “Upbricking,” similar to liking on Facebook, allows a subscriber to choose what they’d like to see on their homepage.
Outside of using this “bricking” system, Reagan points out that the moderators do have some control over the content posted to /r/RIT. For the most part, the use of any personal information, and of course anything illegal, is forbidden on any Reddit. Reagan and the other moderators spend hours making sure the subreddit remains a “fun, creative and overly excited community.”