“What happened to Club Swift?” a slip of paper found in McHugh Hall states, printed in bold capital letters. Fans of music icon Taylor Swift may find the minimal, cryptic style of the message similar to the artist’s marketing for her “Reputation” album. The paper slips started populating Oak and McHugh Halls on Thursday night, and they aren’t the first mentions of Club Swift around the University of Connecticut this school year
In buildings all over campus, nestled between flyers about events and job openings, lay similarly mysterious messages with the song lyrics of an artist familiar to some and a face familiar to most — Taylor Swift. These enigmatic posters started cropping up around UConn at the beginning of the semester, beckoning readers to decipher their meanings. Students have spotted different versions in buildings like McHugh, Oak, the Student Union and the library, and in addition to referencing the female pop star, the posters all similarly mention a club unheard of before this school year: UConn Club Swift.
“One of these clubs is not like the others,” one of the posters states, parodying Swift’s song “ME!” with Brendon Urie from her “Lover” album. The posters invite readers to “Join @uconnclubswift,” referencing the group’s Instagram account, and include a QR code that leads them to a membership interest form.
Despite all this publicity occurring only recently, the group has garnered a lot of attention. On Sept. 28, the UConn Club Swift account posted about a scavenger hunt with 13 different designs of the aforementioned Swift-themed posters, inviting students to take a photo when they find a poster for the chance to be reposted on the club’s Instagram story. Swift cites 13 as her lucky number, most likely contributing to the group’s choice of amount of designs. In addition to the puzzling posters, UConn Club Swift posts similarly cryptic photos and captions on its Instagram account, with clever allusions to Swift’s lyrics.
UConn Club Swift’s first Instagram post on Sept. 15 received a humble 18 likes, while its post from Oct. 6, less than a month after the account’s creation, has received 111 likes so far. With “over 200 UConn Club Swifties,” according to another Instagram post, referencing the current 473 Instagram followers, Club Swift has certainly garnered more attention than it held at the beginning of the semester. This response is in spite of — or maybe because of — the vagueness of Club Swift’s physical and social media campaigning, which have not necessarily declared the club’s purpose, only urging interested students to “join” by filling out the membership form.
The interest form asks Swift-related questions, such as their “favorite T-Swift lyric.” Club Swift created a Club Swiftie Favs playlist on Spotify with 246 Taylor Swift songs based on students’ responses, which it also announced on an Instagram post to thank students for participating in the scavenger hunt.
“Good clubs never go out of style,” states another poster, parodying “Style” from “1989,” while another references “Love Story” from “Fearless” with, “It’s a club story, baby, just say yes!” The posters aren’t the only signs of Club Swift around campus: students have spotted mentions of “@uconnclubswift” on Jonathan the Husky’s birthday card and even on the Huskies for Free Speech ball.
Those familiar with Swift may know about her use of hidden messages, starting with capital letters in the lyric books of her earliest albums and evolving into jumbled words in videos to promote the upcoming release of “Red (Taylor’s Version)” on Nov. 12. The artist and the music industry alike have fondly referred to these codes and allusions within her music lyrics as her Easter Eggs.
The mysterious nature of UConn Club Swift, reminiscent of Swift’s own secretive marketing, has culminated in the cryptic paper slips recently found in academic buildings — the first signs of the group’s activity since an Instagram post on Oct. 15, before which it was posting regularly. With the overwhelming social media response and persistent, albeit mysterious, marketing, UConn Club Swift has garnered a community on campus that will be interested to see what the club does next.