Bowdoin student launches blog, engages all the NESCAC schools
“In The ’Cac” is a feisty 8-month old addition to the college blogosphere. It boasts a steady 600 hits per day, up-to-date quips and information on New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) news with a propensity for controversy.
The blog is the brainchild of Daisy Alioto, a junior at Bowdoin College, who was inspired by a spirit of unity that she believes to be common among students in the NESCAC, a spirit that she encountered immediately upon her arrival at Bowdoin.
“The ’Cac is a sports conference, but it’s also a shared culture and social experience,” Alioto said. “Bumping into someone you don’t want to see in a dining hall is something we all can understand.”
Alioto was initially reluctant to put her idea into action because of a lack of time and knowledge about computers, but everything changed for her when she saw The Social Network for the first time. “I suddenly got high on the idea of the Internet and its power to connect people,” Alioto said.
Three long nights cooped up in her room later, “In the ’Cac” was born. Alioto’s photograph of six post-it notes stuck to her fireplace reading “The ’Cac” became the iconic background of her blog. She began following all 11 NESCAC schools’ newspapers on Twitter to find stories and started tweeting at anybody and everybody to get on board with her movement.
Writers from each of the NESCAC schools have transformed Alioto’s creation into an independently bantering entity that she is confident will continue to function when she goes abroad to Morocco in the spring.
“This has been a social experiment from the beginning, and I think it’s been successful and will continue to be while I’m gone,” Alioto said. Rob Yee ’12 is part of the staff that contributes on a weekly basis to keep the writing dynamic. In the hopes of getting his work out to a larger audience, he signed up with “In the ’Cac” when his own sports blog began to lose steam.
“I just do the sports, but the blog is mainly a humor thing,” Yee said. It’s this sense of humor that has attracted a multitude of fans and critics alike over the short course of the blog’s existence.
“The posts are pretty WASPy, which might be annoying to some people,” Yee said. “But everything is done in a satirical kind of way.” Alioto concedes that the content of her blog is “preppy,” but she describes her sense of humor as “self-reflective”—something that often is misunderstood.
“These failed attempts at humor and unoriginal social commentary are unsolicited by the NESCAC members,” one anonymous Bowdoin student said. “Basically, these people don’t have a sense of humor,” Alioto said. She describes herself as a “non-drinker” and a “raging feminist” in response to critics of what might be seen as the “overly ‘bro-ed’ out” content of her blog.
The NESCAC itself also lashed out at Alioto when she attempted to use an artistic rendering of a chapel on a T-shirt she meant to sell to promote her blog, claiming that the logo was misusing the NESCAC “brand.”
After consulting an intellectual property lawyer and determining that the chapel is not a trademarked logo, Alioto concluded that it was within her rights to use an artistically created inexactitude for what she believes to be a purpose of unification.
Nonetheless, Alioto removed the logo from the shirts to maintain good relations with the NESCAC, though she maintains they handled the situation inappropriately. According to Alioto, NESCAC officials called one of her writer’s athletic director, rather than contacting him directly, thus implying that the writer’s athletic standing would be compromised if she did not remove the logo.
Not one to quit, Alioto is unquestioningly passionate about the NESCAC community and has garnered the appreciation of many students and has stuck to her guns in the face of criticism.
“The blog creates more cohesion than anything,” Alioto said. “We in the NESCAC work hard. We deserve to make jokes about ourselves. I will carry this blog forward until it fails, and if it fails, I want it to fail epically.”