By Ross Grahame
Many universities across the UK have their own online “confession” pages where students can vent, spill and share all the things they could never speak about in person protected under the umbrella of anonymity. Strathclyde is no exception – Strathfess Supreme (@strathfesssupreme) was created in March 2020 and has since soared in popularity. More than 2000 people follow the page on Facebook, and dozens of anonymous posts are made with the hashtag #StrathfessSupreme in a day.
We sat down and spoke with the (self-described) “fucking hilarious,” anonymous admins that are behind StrathFess Supreme, to discuss how the page came to place, what their original intentions were, why they think the page has soared in popularity during Covid-19, and what they have to say in response to people criticising their gatekeeper status.
After the original Strathclyde confession page was taken down, the new page was born during “one of the 9am lectures, where the capacity to focus on actual work was limited,” the Strathfess admins explained: “We did about 15 minutes of research in to how this could be set up and went for it – Strathfess Supreme was born.”
The main premise of the page is that the identities of the posters, as well as the admins, are unknown. Students are free to confess whatever they like on the page, provided they keep the anonymity surrounding the page intact and are not “racist, sexist, homophobic, or transphobic.”
“People often complain that we ‘police and censor’ certain posts that they may have submitted,” the admins describe: “However, if we posted everything that got fessed without filtering certain things the page would go to shit very, very quickly.”
The admins primary aim for the page was a humble dream compared to what it has become. They said: “Originally, we just wanted to read some tea and see memes about hot lecturers, library sex, and shitty classes.”
While some of this original essence remains alive through some of the posts created by students, the admins also noted how important the page has become to so many students during the pandemic. Strathfess Supreme’s traffic has surged since the pandemic forced people into lockdown and isolation away from campus and funny posts soon started blending with more serious ones.
Students started making posts complaining about things such as online learning struggles, mental health, loneliness or how to best socialise or date while still following the restrictions. The admins told us: “We started the page right before the first lockdown in March and now that we’re on lockdown 596, we’re still going strong.
“The page became a place for students to express their feelings and anxieties about lockdown, online uni, and general struggles they were facing. Our page has also become a way for people to express their opinions and reach the wider university community”.
However, the admins still want to keep some of the original ideas alive. They explained: “We try to keep things positive and upbeat with posts like ‘who likes milk and coke’, the ‘Battle of the Brians’ and the love-hate relationship everyone has with the Livi tower.”
What becomes clear is that the admins care deeply about the page being a safe place to ‘fess’ for any Strathclyde student no matter what issue they are facing or what their confession is. The sense of pride the admins feel for the page also came out several times in our interview, as did some of the competitive banter and slagging of other rival pages from other universities.
When Glasgow Caledonian’s confession group was brought up, admins savagely hit back with: “GCU has a confessions page? Welp, they be late to the party. Looks like Internet Explorer has finally loaded their Facebook.” Another Strathclyde page was mentioned, too. Responding to the incident that the Overheard at Strathclyde page allegedly stole Strathfess Supreme’s cover photo, the admins said: “We are not salty at all. In the words of the great Oscar Wilde: ‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness’.”
No longer “virgin Strathfess admins” their page is an established part of the Strathclyde community and seems to be going from strength to strength. So, what are you waiting for Strathclyde? Get fessing! The page can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/strathfesssupreme