Emerson named #3 Hipster Campus

by Barbara Platts / Beacon Staff • February 16, 2012

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There were 14 on-campus residents hospitalized for heavy drinking last fall.
There were 14 on-campus residents hospitalized for heavy drinking last fall.

Walking through Emerson’s campus,  over-sized flannel, under-sized skinny jeans, thick glasses without lenses, and outdated cameras abound. These are just some of the reasons Emerson has been ranked the third most hipster school in the nation by College Magazine.

Runner up to only New York University and the Fashion Institute of Technology, the magazine found Emerson worthy of the third ranking due to the school’s award-winning radio station, WERS, a variety of vegetarian food options on campus, and the numerous student organizations that cater to the fashion styles and trends of the hipster subculture. 

One of the student organizations mentioned was Emerson Fashion Society for their nationally top-ranked fashion blog. 

“I don’t think it was a negative thing when they used our blog,” said the Vice President of Emerson Fashion Society, Ruby Honerkamp. “It was nice to be recognized nationally.”

The junior marketing communication major said she thinks the term “hipster” has become extremely generic, but acknowledged the level of commitment many Emerson students dedicate to their wardrobes. 

“It used to be a niche population, and now it’s just more of a general term,” said Honerkamp. ”Everyone does dress for the runway at Emerson. [But] I don’t think we are a hipster school just because we like to dress well.” 

Sophomore Trace Salvato wasn’t surprised by the hipster ranking, but said he wasn’t sure it accurately portrayed the school. 

“Well personally, I don’t consider myself even close to a hipster,” said the journalism major. “It kind of bothers me because people generalize the school and kind of have opinions before they get to know anyone at the school.”

Despite taking issue with the stereotypes, Salvato admitted there are a lot of hipsters at Emerson, and because of this other subcultures are often discounted.

“There are a lot of other sub-cultures at the school,” Salvato said. “The hipsters just kind of dominate.” 

Alex Morency, a sophomore at New York University who transferred from Emerson last year, said she was surprised that her school scored first on the list. 

“If I see a hipster kid [in New York], I assume they go to Parsons or the New School,” said Morency said. “Honestly I feel like Emerson is more hipster than NYU. Maybe because Emerson is smaller, so I would see more people dressed like hipsters.” 

Morency said she thinks the perception of Emerson as a hip school comes from the college’s major options. 

“At Emerson everybody is more similar in regards to their interests,” said Morency. “NYU has science, pre-med, sports management, a lot of majors that hipsters aren’t as drawn to.” 

Part of being hipster is following indie bands, according to College Magazine. Writing, literature, and publishing major, Ella Zander said that Emerson students do like music considered to be off the beaten path.

“I think it’s independent music that most of the world doesn’t consider popular,” the junior said. “I don’t know about the label ‘hipster,’ but I think we’re all about independent music.”

President of the Emerson Fashion Society, Sydney Kirsten, said Emerson is a unique and fashionable school, but doesn’t think everyone falls under the category of hipster.

“Everyone is not a hipster,” Kirsten said. “Everyone is creative, but in very different ways.” 

Kirsten said she thinks there is a great deal of variety in the style of the student body.

“When I am walking down the street at Emerson, it’s a total mixed bag,” Kirsten said. “There is the hipster style, you have different patterns and styles, vintage, some retro.” 

Vice President of Public Affairs Andrew Tiedemann said he was unsure what the ranking implied, but sees it as a compliment nonetheless. 

“I am not sure that I would recognize a hipster if one walked into my office,” Tiedemann said in an e-mail. “But Emerson is clearly sharing company with some very fine peer institutions on this particular listing.”


Xakota Espinoza, Beacon staff, contributed reporting.