Spiderman and Squirrels Convene on ODU Instagram

@milesmorales_odu, who refused to give up his secret identity and identified himself as Miles Morales, says that he has spent significant time and effort making his costume as close to the reference as possible.

Sydney Haulenbeek, Editor in Chief

It starts with the ODU squirrels, and it ends with Spiderman.  


Kelli Bryla, sophomore, first made the @odusquirrels account in August of 2020. Instagram had recommended a squirrel account for another college, and she thought: I can do that.


“We have a lot of squirrels, and also, I have a nice camera,” she said. “Having high quality pictures of the squirrels made me happy.” 


By the spring of 2022, more accounts had popped up. Another ODU squirrels account was created, who reached out to Bryla to apologize; they hadn’t realized she was an active account. She didn’t mind, they sometimes tag each other in posts, and they both get unique submissions. 


“I think the ODU squirrels, the other one, was more in sync with – I think it was the Spiderman account? – and a couple of others,” she said. “And I wasn’t really associated with them. Because it was like a whole wave of ODU accounts.” 


Felix Radford, sophomore, created @odu_turtles in the beginning of the spring 2022 semester, when the trend to create them began to pick up. He also saw new accounts like @odu_ducks, which follows the journey of four ODU ducks pop up, and @odu_dogs.  


“I just kind of like hopped on the bandwagon,” he said. “I just made the page mostly because I’m really interested in reptiles and stuff, and I feel like most people don’t even know that the turtles are even there. But it’s something that when people do know that they are, I do see a lot of people who will walk by and be like ‘oh my god, turtles!’ so I think it makes a lot of people happy.”


In addition to ODU animal accounts, there are numerous others. @odu_plant_reviews rates plants (and rants about the squirrels), and @odu_sink_reviews is on a quest to try every sink on campus. @confessodu is a now inactive account that posted anonymous confessions and @odusleepz posts pictures of students sleeping. There’s also @oduparks, which describes themselves as “exposing people who can’t park for sh*t at ODU”. 


The first wave of accounts were created towards the end of the fall semester, months after @odusquirrels, and include @odu_sink_reviews and the now defunct @confessodu. A surge of accounts were created in early February, after the spring semester had started. 


Among them were the Spidermen.


Nicholas Sepple, @odu_spiderman, remembers the day he created his account: February 4. He was influenced by @confessodu, @odusleepz, and @oduparks.


Sepple was the first Spiderman account, but he’s different from the rest: he’s not Spiderman. Sepple purchased a Spiderman plush from Walmart, and decided to create an account where he takes photos of it around campus.


“I was the first, officially, … I made the account, but I didn’t post yet, …  I ended up posting when I got home, Sepple said. “And by the time I got home, I realized there was another Spiderman account, but that guy actually dressed up, and I was like ‘whoa, I didn’t even think about that.’ And then I started seeing more pop up.”


Unlike many of the other @ ODU accounts, Sepple has met people through his @odu_spiderman account. He met up with @milesmorales_odu and @vemon_odu accounts in March to take photos together. 


“Welcome to the Spiderverse? No, this is ODUniverse…” posted @venom_odu, tagging Sepple’s Spiderman account.


In addition to Sepple’s Spiderman cameo account, also recently created are ODU’s classic superheroes, and villains. Starkly different to ODU’s rapidly growing collection of animal, gossip, and college related accounts, are the Marvel accounts.


@milesmorales_odu, who refused to give up his secret identity and identified himself as Miles Morales, remembers making his account around January. He was asked by the @odu.valentines account to help hand out flowers for Valentine’s Day, and came all suited up to hand them out to students in the Webb Center. 


“Literally, everyone was just like: ‘Oh my gosh, it’s Spiderman!’ And I was just like ‘Oh my gosh, I did not expect it to go like this.”


He doesn’t suit up often, but when he does, he gets stopped by students. 


“I think that is one of the reasons why I do it. We’re all in college, we’re all going through stuff, we’re all stressed from classes and stuff but I feel like if they see Big Blue come through it’s like ‘okay, well now my day feels a little bit better.’ And even though I’m not Big Blue, it’s like, I can help you guys feel a little bit better.”  


The ODU Spidermen have no plans to meet up for the remainder of this academic year, but want to during the upcoming school year. Morales says he has some plans for tailgates in the fall.


“I would love to see more characters, and it doesn’t have to be Marvel, it could be anything, like if people wanted to it could be from a Pixar movie or a Disney movie… I would love to see more characters from other movies to start appearing at ODU. …We could have Harry Potter just walking around casually. I would love to see that.”