Watch out Barstool, there’s a new Instagram account in town

Best described as a more generic Barstool, The Freshman Club provides college students with advice on classes, clubs, partying and dating in college.


A sample of posts from The Freshman Club’s main Instagram page. (@the_freshman_club on Instagram)

Jorie Fawcett, Staff Writer

If you’re familiar with Barstool Sports, the digital media company that runs social accounts with partner universities across the country, then get ready for the next shining star in the world of college party-prep accounts (not really).

The Freshman Club is a newly-launched multimedia account that gives high school seniors to college seniors a platform to form relationships, gain real-world perspectives and learn the best advice for clubs, dating, parties and all things college. I had the opportunity to talk with its founder and administrator, Tristin van den Bulk, an MBA student at Lynn University. 

“Originally I started the account for Purdue University as a way for students to get connected with each other and truly see what college is like from college students’ perspectives,” van den Bulk said. “We are trying to make this account a resource for students coming into college for both incoming and current students.”

The Freshman Club has its own main Instagram page, but also works with 19 partner universities—including Vanderbilt—to provide campus-specific content to students of each university. Once the Vanderbilt account gains a bigger following, van den Bulk said he plans to bring live events to campus like concerts and TED Talks. 

“We are working with Lights on the Lawn,” van den Bulk said. “The group brings concerts to college campuses and donates a portion of the proceeds to The Mary Parrish Center, which supports survivors of domestic and sexual violence.”

The Freshman Club of Vanderbilt’s Instagram page. (@thefreshmanclub_vanderbilt on Instagram)

Students can submit their own content, such as photos and videos from Vanderbilt events, to be featured on the page. They can even send photos of themselves along with a small bio to network across campus.

The Freshman Club of Vanderbilt is currently run exclusively by van den Bulk, but he said he plans to open it up to others later.

“Once the account has gained more of a following, I want to give Vandy students the opportunity to take control of the account,” van den Bulk said. “Current students interested in serving as an admin to the account can DM us on Instagram for further details.” 

For an account with such a small following, The Freshman Club at Vanderbilt has big ambitions, and some students said they aren’t too sure about its intentions.

“The Freshman Club is giving an outdated point of view on the freshman experience, and is more likely going to hurt rather than help,” first-year student Aaron Vickers said. “One of their posts was ‘How not to get caught by your RA’ which teaches first-years to develop a bad relationship with their RA.”

Some students also said they felt The Freshman Club was too similar to Barstool Sports, a media company that has a much larger following and posts about student life and sports.

“It looks like a Barstool ripoff, to be honest,” first-year student Mahaan Uttam said. “It gives me the vibes of wannabe influencers and cheesy TikToks.”

So far, The Freshman Club of Vanderbilt only has a few posts—some featuring account admin or shouting out students, a few TikToks and one meme about Vanderbilt—and many are merely reposts of photos and videos from its parent account. While the account is still quite young, if you have a passion for social media and all things college, consider reaching out to van den Bulk and The Freshman Club for a chance at being a part of the next rising star in the world of college media.