The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News



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‘Northeastern State of Mind’ YouTube video goes viral

By Marian Daniells, News Staff


Drew D’Agostino was in a Northeastern state of mind when he came up with the idea to create a campus-themed cover of Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ “Empire State of Mind.”

The “Northeastern State of Mind” video was posted to YouTube early Tuesday morning and already exceeded 116,000 views at press time. It ranked fourth for most viewed videos Wednesday in the music category and No. 53 for most viewed overall. It has also been linked to by The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald, Universal Hub and Barstool Sports and reported by Fox25 and He is also set to appear today on New England Cable News.

D’Agostino, a guitarist and self-proclaimed singer-songwriter, said he wanted to make the video “for fun” and wrote the lyrics in less than an hour.

The lyrics incorporate everything from the sketchiness of surrounding areas – the Fens, Ruggles and Roxbury – to the underground tunnel maze and how Northeastern no longer has a football team.

“I just felt this wave of inspiration come over me,” the middler business entrepreneurship and marketing major said. “But it was really just my goal to get into The Huntington News.”

He then shared the lyrics and the idea of a video with his friend, middler psychology major Jeff Perez, and the news spread from Perez to other collaborators, including middlers Sean Reilly, a business entrepreneurship and marketing major who acted in the video, and Rob St. Denis, an electrical engineering major who produced it.

Other contributors include middler pharmacy majors Chelsea Binkowski, D’Agostino’s real life girlfriend who plays a cameo role, and other friends.

Everyone helped out in their own small way, D’Agostino said.

However, he said filming was hard sometimes because of the “lack of coherence” between some of the actors. It was difficult to get a time when everyone could come together, St. Denis said.

Despite difficulties, the group still produced a viral video. Students and administrators alike said they admire the crew for their school spirit and for the work that went into making the video.

Sophomore math major Mike Robbins thought it successfully embodied the Northeastern experience.

“Everything was so accurate,” he said. “It was really funny.”

Drew D’Agostino and his friends starred in and helped produce the “Northeastern State of Mind” YouTube video. News Staff photo/Meghan McVeigh

Northeastern school officials said they agree and admire the students’ dedication and school spirit.

“The students who made this [ video] clearly love being Huskies,” Director of Communications Renata Nyul said in an e-mail to The News. “And we love their passion for Northeastern.”

Perez and Reilly admitted to having been chastised – jokingly or not – by some of their teachers, who claimed that the term “middler” doesn’t exist anymore because of the university’s push for more four-year programs.

While some may think the song is meant to criticize the school and local community, D’Agostino said he doesn’t think the lyrics were disrespectful.

Comments on the video include praise from Northeastern alumi, who said they’re happy to see the campus has changed very little since they graduated.

“Everyone likes some random line,” D’Agostino said, noting that the video brings people together because they can all relate to their communal Northeastern experience.

“We have spring break in the winter,” he sings. “What the hell is a middler?”

“It’s tough love,” he said. “It doesn’t really have an agenda behind it.”

Hoping to turn the video into a source of income, he also created designs on CafePress with some of the lyrics to the song. One design simply says “Northeastern state of mind,” while another says “Don’t ask me what a middler is.” Items range from $4.50 bumper stickers to $35 hoodies.

“He’s a natural business man,” said Reilly of D’Agostino’s idea to make designs, despite D’Agostino’s claim that no one has purchased anything yet. He is also using the video’s success to promote his website, The site is similar to FMyLife, but focuses specifically on awkward roommate situations; all posts begin with “Help! My roommate …”

As for the random cow in the video, Mr. Mooves, D’Agostino played the cow for the Making Moves organization, a club of entrepreneurs that was started by Boston students including Julian Jung, a middler business finance and accounting major.

“[D’Agostino] is a double agent,” Reilly said.

In all, D’Agostino said the positive response to the video has been overwhelming. The students involved have become something like Northeastern celebrities. Sitting in Curry with The News, the group was congratulated by friend-slash-fan Jung and they laughed awkwardly when the song blasted through the student center speakers.

Middler sociology major Alex Taylor, promotion assistant for WRBB radio, said he played the song in Curry because of its recent popularity.

“It just kind of blew up,” he said.

But the video wasn’t the only thing to blow up; the video’s success has helped D’Agostino’s popularity, as well.

“My Facebook wall has lit up more than on my birthday,” he said. Since posting the video, he’s received more than 70 friend requests.

“My friends are just coming out of the woodwork,” D’Agostino said.

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