Alabama Loves The Tide // So Does Harambe

Any given game day at the University of Alabama, walking across the quad one can see fans with buttons on their outfits showing their support for the tide. These buttons range from Nick Saban’s various facial emotions, “Nick’s chick”, and Beat (opposing team). Student organizations create buttons for their members to show that their club/organization loves the tide.

This season, students have added “Harambe loves the tide” buttons as their latest accessory.

Harambe, a 400-pound gorilla, was killed May 28th, 2016 at the Cincinnati zoo after a 3-year-old child fell into his habitat. After his demise a lot of controversy around animal cruelty and how the zoo handled the situation was in the media. Internet goers took it upon themselves to make Harambe the pop culture’s latest figure.

In 1996 a toddler fell into a gorilla enclosure at Brookfield Zoo. The situation did not have a deadly result like the one involving Harambe. Professionals in this situation were able to rescue the boy without shooting their gorilla in the process. The comparison of the two incidents enraged more people, believing an alternative action could have been taken to save Harambe’s life. Believing the zoo was at fault.

Animal rights groups and concerned citizens were posting their opinions on all forms of social media, making the issue go viral. Social media hashtags such as #JusticeForHarambe and #DoItForHarambe began trending on Twitter. Harambe seems to be everywhere, even on social media captions, “do it for Harambe.”

Memes were created making Harambe seem like a hero or to honor his passing. “Harambe the Gorilla” is still trending four months later on These memes after going viral have been turned into t-shirts and other novelty items to turn a profit.

The zoo has been taking heat on social media due to their decision to shoot a gorilla that is on the brink of extinction.

According to the Associated Press Rports, Cincinnati’s Zoo Director Thane Maynard stated, “We are not amused by the memes, petitions and signs about Harambe.” This hasn’t stopped people from making them, Harambe and his “legacy” are still as popular as ever, and especially at the University of Alabama.

Hannah Sonstegard, a sophomore-nursing student at the University of Alabama decided to take her own unique spin on the pop culture phenomenon, Harambe loves the tide gameday buttons. A lot of people supported her along the way, encouraging her to start the process about a month ago.

“Well it started as a joke, and I was just looking for a caption for an insta[gram] post. And then Harambe started trending. I ordered 25 of them and sold them to my friends.” After that things just took off for Hannah. Orders started coming in by the hundreds. To date she has sold around 500 buttons.

Hannah designed Harambe loves the tide pins and uploaded her finished design to a website to make them. What started out as a joke turned into a small side job.

“People always ask me why I’m not a graphic design or art major because all I do is paint and make weird things,” the 19-year-old California native stated. Hannah is the sign chair for her organization Kappa Alpha Theta. She paints signs to hang on the exterior of the house, highlighting members’ birthdays and academic or professional accomplishments.

Morgan Ryley, a junior at the University of Alabama had an interesting encounter involving her Harambe loves the tide button. On the quad she was approached by a fellow student who was interesting in purchasing the button. After the encounter, she walked away $15 richer, just missing a button.

Hannah isn’t the only one who has taken this opportunity to turn a small profit. A different take on Harambe loving the tide has taken off on campus. Another student at the University of Alabama has created another Harambe sticker. Saying, “Harambe loved the tide,” showing a gorilla with wings and a halo.

Kristyn Conrad, junior student at the Unversity of Alabama was also approached while wearing her button in Dallas at the Alabama/USC game. “A few student from USC saw my pin before we went into the game, and said that was such a cool idea! Never forget Harambe!” Some individuals told her they are going to make some for their school when they got back to California.

When Harambe loves (sports team) buttons start becoming popular at other schools across the country, know that here at UA we started the trend.

While no one can predict what the future may hold for Harambe’s legacy, we do know that pop culture plays a big part in society’s lives. Things that trend online become popular items in our lives whether they are game day pins, or t-shirts.

Roll Tide and long live Harambe’s legacy.

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