It’s move-in week at BYU. The start of Fall semester is just days away. While some roommates know each other from back home, some from EFY and some are randomly paired up, two new freshmen roommates found each other from a hashtag.
For the past few years #BYUBound has been the digital destination for newly admitted, frantically excited high school seniors getting their BYU acceptance letters. Reaction on the hashtag on both Twitter and Instagram explodes on the day acceptance notices are sent out.
Bethany Bulloch was one of the many true-blue new Cougs this past spring. She posted a photo using the hashtag on instagram, and then spent some time browsing the photos others were posting there.
Erin Kennedy was browsing as well.
“I was very interested in seeing what types of people I would be going to school with,” Erin said. “I’m from North Carolina, so I don't know a lot of people, and I wanted to find a roommate. I knew that #BYUBound was a hashtag used to find fellow future Cougs, so I just searched it on different social medias to find people I could see myself rooming with. I swear I'm not super creepy.”
Bethany agrees — not creepy.
“Someone’s Instagram grid can tell you a lot about them,” Bethany said.
Bethany is from Las Vegas, looking to study communications. Erin is from North Carolina, looking to study biology. The duo has interacted through social media, texts and phone calls for 25 weeks since their initial connection. They met face-to-face for the first time in their dorm room this week.
Bethany said she knows that finding a roommate through the #BYUBound hashtag isn’t limited to just her and Erin. Bethany has a number of other friends in Las Vegas who were accepted that same night, went to the same hashtag and were doing the same things.
“They would just look on that hashtag and see who else posted,” Bethany said. “It became a great way to interact with other people who were newly admitted and just make connections that way. People would see our posts and then they would just reach out to us and follow us because we had that mutual connection.”
Currently, the #BYUBound hashtag has transitioned into content featuring students en route to campus from all over the globe.
Now for Bethany, Erin and the 5,000+ other new freshmen — from 31 different countries and all 50 states — will transition to using the #BYUNSO hashtag. Lots of New Student Orientation fun is happening this week, including the annual freshman tradition of forming the Y at LaVell Edwards Stadium.