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First-year ran for community governor using Harambe-themed Snapchat filter

Evan's Snapchat filter elicited a range of responses in the Hinton James dorm.Courtesy of Megan Teems, first year

Evan's Snapchat filter elicited a range of responses in the Hinton James dorm.

Courtesy of Megan Teems, first year

Evan Rodgers did it for Harambe.

Rodgers, a first-year student and Robertson Scholar, recently ran for governor in the Hinton James community. His primary campaign tactic — a Harambe-themed Snapchat filter, based on a popular meme that iconizes the gorilla, Harambe, killed at the Cincinnati Zoo in May. 


Although he didn't win — Wil Wiener did — he brought student campaigning to a new level. 

Rodgers said the idea came about over lunch, when he and a friend decided that the perfect way to fuel his campaign, boost votes and get campus talking, was to create a Snapchat filter.

"My friend and I were sitting at lunch one day and we both thought it would be a nice, original, fun thing to do," Rodgers said.

The Snapchat filter was available to all Hinton James residents. The visual included the text "Evan for HoJo Governor" and "Harambe's Choice (RIP Harambe)." The filter lasted only two days, so the residents unfortunately had to say goodbye to Harambe once again. 

Excited about the Snapchat filter, Rodgers discussed the success it had in the Hinton James community as well as around campus. He said students talked about the filter and reacted positively. 

"They're reacting very well," he said. "I've heard people throughout campus reference the filter, which is pretty funny. I think it had 20,000 views and 800 uses." 

Samie Creech, a first-year Hinton James resident, said the Snapchat filter made HoJo feel more like home because it was a comical reference all of the students could relate to and laugh about together. 

"I thought the Snapchat filter Evan made for HoJo was incredibly creative, and definitely contributed to the already homelike atmosphere found in the residence hall," she said. 

However, some students felt as though the jokes and references concerning Harambe were played out. 

Ryan Herron, first-year, said it was an interesting idea, but it just didn't resonate with him.

 "I showed it to my friends back home to show what this guy was doing, but it's been used a little too much," Herron said. 

In contrast, Rodgers said he was most concerned with keeping Harambe's popular meme alive throughout his campaign.

"It was an obligatory joke and necessary," Rodgers said. 

"It wasn't about me. It was about Harambe."


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