Northeastern falls to UMass in Cardi B Tinder contest

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Northeastern falls to UMass in Cardi B Tinder contest

The Tinder trolley was on campus on the 17th to hand out foam flames. / Photo by Mohit Puvvala

The Tinder trolley was on campus on the 17th to hand out foam flames. / Photo by Mohit Puvvala

The Tinder trolley was on campus on the 17th to hand out foam flames. / Photo by Mohit Puvvala

The Tinder trolley was on campus on the 17th to hand out foam flames. / Photo by Mohit Puvvala

Samuel Kim

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After three weeks of intense competition, Northeastern placed second in the Tinder Campus Swipe Off Contest, narrowly missing a chance to attend a free concert with rapper Cardi B.

Northeastern’s second-place finish to the University of Massachusetts Amherst is noteworthy given that students had very mixed views of Cardi B, in addition to varying levels of enthusiasm for the contest.

“I was so surprised that we got to the championship round,” said Dana Walker, a fourth-year behavioral neuroscience major. “We showed that we can be competitive and band together to try to win.”

Many Northeastern students shared their thoughts about the contest in the NU Meme Collective, a Facebook group for Northeastern students to share memes. While some were excited at the prospect of having Cardi B come to campus, others, including members of the transgender community, were more wary to participate.

Alexandria Alexieff, a fourth-year nursing major, was disappointed Northeastern lost the competition. After Tinder announced UMass the winner, Alexieff shared a photo on the meme collective of Kim Kardashian from a “Kourtney & Kim Take New York” episode subtitled “I feel bad, you don’t think I feel bad?” In the caption, she wrote, “Me after finding out UMass Amherst gets to party with Cardi and we’re stuck with Charli XCX.”  

“Frankly, the lineup for Springfest has been lacking the past couple of years, including this year,” Alexieff said. “I mean, Charli XCX was okay, but I’m a way bigger fan of Cardi. I just wanted to convey my disappointment, because I really wanted Cardi to come.”

Alexieff said she looks up to Cardi B as a fellow Dominican woman.

“It’s so nice to have representation in the mainstream music industry,” Alexieff said. “Cardi’s Dominican and so am I, so we vibe.”

Rosette Pambakian, Head of Brand at Tinder, said in a Tuesday email to The News that Tinder created this contest to appeal to their college student user base.

“Today, more than 50 percent of Tinder users are college-aged,” Pambakian said. “We also consistently tap into our users to hear what they want. Our college users are huge Cardi B fans, so we set out to do something special to show how much we appreciate them and get them swiping.”

Pambakian said the challenge created a considerable rise in activity in the app.

“We’ve definitely seen a ton of enthusiasm around the Swipe Off, and an uptick at the top 64 schools in particular,” she said.

Many others shared dismay that Northeastern was not victorious including Samantha Amodie, a third-year music industry major.

“I hate Tinder — I only got it for this competition because I love Cardi,” Amodie said. “I would just swipe without even looking at my phone. As soon as I heard we lost, I deleted my account.”

Amodie also said she felt Northeastern students were at a disadvantage, especially in the championship round, because so many students do not live on campus.

“So many Northeastern students, including me, live off-campus,” Amodie said. “We’re just forced to, because Northeastern is never able to accomodate all the students who request on-campus housing. I myself had to really make use of the times I was on campus so my swipes would count. In fact, I made excuses to come to campus during the championship weekend when each swipe really counted.”

Amodie said she believes that because UMass students live in a much smaller town, they were more likely to live on or near campus, maximizing their percentage of right swipes.

“This may sound silly, but I believe this contest can point to the flaws of Northeastern’s housing system. We were screwed that last weekend,” Amodie said.

While many students like Amodie were invested in bringing Cardi B to campus, others were hesitant to participate due to transphobic comments Cardi B has made in the past.

Kate Parks, a second-year marine biology major, created a thread in the NU Meme Collective centering around a video in which Cardi B uses derogatory terms for members of the transgender community.  

“In her video, Cardi says that if someone cheated on her, she should get even by getting them drunk, then forcing them to have sex with a transgender person,” Parks said. “Not only is that rape, but that also plays off the stereotype that transgender women are these predatory men in dresses. Cardi’s video perpetuates a bigger culture of hate and misunderstanding toward transgender people, particularly transgender women.”

Parks, who is a member of the transgender community, said they did not want other members of the collective to think they shouldn’t be participating in the contest.

“I just want people to hold others, including celebrities, accountable and not just shrug it off,” Parks said. “I do acknowledge that Cardi is a woman of color, and that she is a role model to so many people. That’s why I hope she learns from her mistakes and is more accepting of the transgender community.”

The contest started March 27. The rules stated that accredited four-year colleges and universities were eligible as long as they had an enrollment of 5,000 on-campus students.  

Schools with the highest percentages of right swipes advanced to the next round. The total number of right swipes by Tinder users on campus was divided by the total number of enrolled students at school.

There were six rounds, each lasting three to five days. Sixty-four schools made the preliminary round and went on to the second round in which 32 were eliminated. This continued into the sixth round, which saw Northeastern face off against UMass.

After five days of competition, UMass won. The first 200 of their students who swipe right on a promotional card in their feed will be eligible to attend a free Cardi B concert April 25.

Though students’ levels of participation varied, many appreciated how the contest united students.

“Though our school isn’t known to have a lot of school spirit, we shared insights and strategies and ended up beating out bigger schools like UPenn and, of course, our forever rivals BU,” said Ece Bapcum, a first-year behavioral neuroscience major.

Mohit Puvvala and Claire Wallace contributed to this article.