Another viral meme craze comes to Rider

Sigma Phi Epsilon brothers participate in the Owen Wilson “Wow” meetup on March 27. The event was inspired by viral videos of people giving their best impressions of the actor.

By Samantha Brandbergh and Megan Lupo

Shouts of “Who do we love? Owen Wilson!” echoed across campus on March 27.

Rider students expressed their appreciation for the American actor with a “Wow” meetup.

The idea originated from a running joke on the internet, where users would poke fun at the distinct, nasally way Wilson says “wow.”

The trend is simple: round up some friends, go to a public location and say “wow” like Owen Wilson.

Hundreds around the world have already participated, drawing crowds from New York to Australia.

The inspiration for bringing the event to Rider was to have something fun on campus, according to senior marketing major, event organizer and self-proclaimed “meme lord” Agaazi Berhane.

“I’m on the internet seeing what’s the next viral thing,” he said. “I wanted to bring people out to enjoy themselves, even if it’s for a minute.”

Rider’s version of the tribute, originally scheduled for March 8 but pushed back three times due to inclimate weather, resulted in an intimate crowd of eight, mostly members of the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon. According to the event page, “Owen Wilson — ‘Wow’ Meetup Rider University,” 35 people listed themselves as “going,” while 66 said they were “interested.”

Minutes before the event was scheduled to begin, those in attendance gathered in front of Moore Library, practicing their best impressions.

After relocating to the berm, the small group listened as Berhane hyped them up.

“I really appreciate you guys taking the time to come out today; we’re here for Owen Wilson,” he said. “We’re going to say ‘wow’ as loud as we can. Is everyone ready?”  

For the next minute, the group delivered their best impressions between laughs.

Senior marketing major Brandon Ferris, who participated in the event, said, “I really enjoy Owen Wilson’s work. I think it’s very authentic and different, so I wanted to show my appreciation for him.”

Because memes have such a short shelf life on the internet, Berhane was nervous about what the turnout would be.

“I think it’s due to the several cancellations we had,” he said. “But I think it was [also] due to poor weather and other conflicts.”

Despite this, those who took part in the meetup believe that events like this spark “individuality” in Rider students.

“You can come out and make an impact, show support and do what you love here,” said sophomore health science major Bobby Trinneer.

With Berhane graduating in May, he hopes to pass the torch of bringing meme trends to campus.

“I think my time is done,” he said. “So, hopefully, I inspired someone to take the reins on it.”


Published in the 3/27/18 edition. 

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