Big Names on Campus (BNoCs) are a vital part of campus life. They are the hands that hold us up, toiling away within our institutions to ensure that we have everything that students need, such as cheap Courtyard pizza and bathrooms that don’t overflow with shit each month. However, they are an increasingly endangered species due to the impacts of Voluntary Student Unionism (decreased funding for student orgs) as well as pandemic-related campus shutdowns. After all, you can’t be a BNoC without a thriving campus culture.
BNoCs themselves help to carry on this culture through oral histories, inducting the next generation of students into campus life. When you first show up at Uni, it helps immeasurably to have someone tell you about all the unspoken rules and secrets of campus: how to avoid campaigners (or become one), where to study (or slack off), and which clubs are fronts for which factions.
BNoCs: we all know one, and if you’re reading this, you might just be self-involved enough to be one. Being a BNoC, however, is about more than just knowledge or popularity.
What makes a BNoC is right there in the term. First, they have to be big: big presence, big personality, or big impact. They might be a society president, a student politician, or a rising revue star. They’re the loudest voice in the room, they’re in charge, and they make sure everyone knows it.
Secondly, a BNoC by any other name would not smell as sweet. Being a BNoC relies on having a strong personal brand, so you need a memorable name. There’s a reason that Onor Nottle is a BNoC and Sam Randle isn’t. Uncommon first names, alliteration, and double-barrelled surnames are all beneficial to your name-brand recognition. Alternatively, a strong visual identity can do wonders for your brand: a distinctive jacket (hi Deggles), hairstyle, or tattoo is a good place to start.
Thirdly and most importantly, you need to be on campus. It is not enough for people to have heard your name or seen you online. USyd Rants comments does not a BNoC make. You need to be at faculty balls, at Taste Cafe, and at every Manning party so the NNoCs (No-Names on Campus) can whisper to one another, “oh my God, Zara Zadro is here?” While BNoCs are never known to the entire campus, they are most commonly big within a specific demographic. SUDS BNoCs and Engineering BNoCs can wield similar influence, but never meet — like ships in the night.
BNoCs are the tastemakers, the trendsetters, the thought-leaders of campus. Their names echo through these hallowed halls for generations to come, etched into the very sandstone of this university. If you see one in the wild, please do not disturb them — they’re people too, and are no doubt working tirelessly to improve all of our lives. Most importantly, don’t forget to tell someone that you saw them.