RedCup Canes takes over as students’ go-to social media page for all things UM

RedCup Canes, a quirky social media page that showcases college culture at the U, is celebrating a year of skyrocketing growth that saw the Instagram account become a household name on campus and many students’ go-to page for university-related content.

Not affiliated with the University of Miami, RedCup Canes is a branch of a larger social media network, RedCup News, which sponsors university-student efforts to create media that highlights the tailgating experience. Launched in 2019, RedCup News specializes in capturing college culture through blogs, videos, promotional events and podcasts and offers paid internships to college students.

Thanks to junior Chema Garcia, the UM iteration of RedCup News goes beyond sports-based news, offering a platform full of funny videos and raw UM content.

“The content we create, you’re not going to find replicated anywhere else,” said Garcia, who launched RedCup Canes a year ago after transferring to UM from Florida International University.

After realizing the account could offer more than live sports updates, Garcia pitched the idea of creating and posting satirical news updates and it stuck. RedCup Canes publishes a variety of comedy posts, including starter packs, student-athlete jokes and dorm life shenanigans, creating a personalized and relatable page for students to enjoy.

“Our biggest motto is the culture of college,” sophomore motion pictures major Paul Villa said.

Villa helped Garcia promote the account by scattering RedCup Canes stickers across the university’s Coral Gables campus.

“We try to post things that college students want to see that they can’t necessarily find anywhere else,” Villa said.

Chema Garcia, left, and Paul Villa prepare to interview Canes fans and Crimson Tide rivals at the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game in Atlanta on Saturday, Sept. 4.
Chema Garcia, left, and Paul Villa prepare to interview Canes fans and Crimson Tide rivals at the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game in Atlanta on Saturday, Sept. 4. Photo credit: Chema Garcia

Garcia, an advertising major, met Villa in a motion pictures class in the School of Communication. They brainstormed ideas and became the faces of RedCup Canes, tailoring the account for UM students, high schoolers and transfer students who want to know what life at the U is all about.

“You might think a university is super fun because they’re good at sports or something, then you arrive and realize this place sucks,” Garcia said. “The whole point is to produce an experience that previews UM, especially to those who want to enroll. That’s what I wanted to create.”

The RedCup Canes team — Garcia, Villa, Brittani Kaiaiunna and cameraman Dylan Pitt — saw their Instagram follower count rise from 200 to almost 9k in just one year.

“We have nearly three-fourths of the school following, and the account is gaining 200 to 400 followers a week,” Garcia said. “We’re on pace to hit 10k by Christmas.”

Villa and Garcia share their page’s name and likeness with Kaiaiunna, the creator of the RedCup Canes TikTok. With 3,000 followers and 45,000 likes, TikTok has proven to be a valuable outlet to expand the page’s reach, Garcia said.

Garcia makes all of RedCup Canes’ content on Adobe Photoshop with help from Villa. The two say they focus on listening to UM students and creating the content that they feel the community might most want to see. Villa and Garcia say they build off each other to create the funniest posts possible.

“Nothing is planned,” Villa said. “We just do our best to get the other person to say something funny.”

Sophomore Blanca Hervas was interviewed by Garcia on her way to the student section at a recent Hurricanes football game. She and several others were then featured on RedCup Canes “Tailgate Chronicles.”

“It was cool jumping in to be on camera,” Hervas said. “The guys had good energy and I laughed out loud when I saw myself on their page. It was fun.”

Garcia spends his free time responding to student submissions and making satirical news content that people can enjoy and interact with while giving students a platform to share stories anonymously, the accounts’ most popular segment.

On game days, RedCup Canes often pose questions to the student body ranging from “Who are we playing today?” to “What’s the craziest thing you’ve done at college that you can’t tell your parents?” Answers are usually submitted by students, alumni, parents and even school rivals.

Garcia and Villa say that running the page is rewarding when they are hitting their goals for follower count, views and other interactions and receiving support from the students they work to entertain.

“We wanna be something everyone can enjoy, not something controversial,” Villa said.