Druids establish not-so-secret social media presence

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TPN File Photo

A sign from the Druids was hung outside Posvar Hall in 2016.

By Nicole Marzzacco, Staff Writer

Each student is observed both inside the classroom by faculty, but apparently also outside the classroom — by the Druids.

An Instagram and Twitter account — both with the handle @realpittdruids — run by a secret society called the Druids first became active in early December 2019.

The Instagram account first posted on Dec. 7 introducing themselves to their followers. The picture consists of four members dressed head to toe in black robes that shielded their faces, and is captioned, “we are watching – DruiDs.”

The Twitter account became active on Dec. 8, posting a series of tweets describing the society’s history and mission. According to these tweets, the Druids are a campus secret society founded in 1916 that aims to maintain University traditions and serve the Pitt community.

“We find it vital to reach out to our community, as you are the people we serve. Our Chapter is not here to harm or hurt, but simply to recognize outstanding members of our Pitt community,” one tweet said.

In a letter sent to The Pitt News via Instagram direct message, the Druids said they are connected to the University in more ways than one.

“We serve as silent observers of the student community and seek to recognize those who would otherwise go unnoticed,” the Druids said in their letter. “Due to the nature of our Order and the work we do, many alumni — both within the Order and without — feel a connection with the University that would otherwise not exist, a sense of community enhanced by our mission to foster tradition and a sense of pride in the University.”

The Druids also said in the letter why they decided to create their new social media accounts.

“The creation of our Order’s social media is an attempt to spread our positive message and recognize Pitt pride where it is deserved,” the Druids said. “In this technological age, the Order has recognized that it is time for us to modernize our ways.”

According to the letter, the Druids only official social media accounts are @realpittdruids on Instagram and Twitter and any other accounts claiming to be the Pitt Druids are not legitimate. If the Druids creates another social media count in the future, it will be verified through one of the @realpittdruids accounts.

The Druids have not always been so secretive, as students “tapped” as pledges were once publicized. The group became more secretive in the 1990s but still remained active on campus, awarding scholarships to students. The Druids came into the spotlight once again, however, in 2013 after a Pitt News investigation revealed that two thirds of the elected Student Government Board and a TPN opinions editor were found to be members of the secret society.

In their letter to The Pitt News, the Druids said they are currently more concerned with serving the University than with infiltrating SGB and other student organizations.

“Our order does not seek power within student government or influence in the actions of student organizations and their leaders,” the Druids said. “Our goals are simpler: we are a group of students who are solely and uniformly committed to the University of Pittsburgh through the promotion of brotherhood, service, tradition, humility and silence.”

Farrell Healy, a senior political science major, said she has been aware of the society since her first year on campus. At the Cathedral Ball a few years ago, Healy encountered the group.

“They always make an appearance at the Cathedral Ball in December,” Healy said. “A few years ago when I was there they hung the Druid flag through the window on the second floor of Cathy so everyone on the first floor where the dance is could see it, and they were masked.”

The Druids made a post on their Instagram on Dec. 7 which said they were present at the Cathedral Ball this year. The picture was of a bag of ping pong balls with writing and they captioned the post, “DiD you see us at the catheDral ball? We saw you. The DeeDs are never Done. we are always watching – D.”

Sydney Dubose, a junior environmental science major, heard about the Druids but never thought much of them. She then randomly received a notification that the account wanted to follow her. Surprised, she accepted the request and followed back the account.

“I’m not fully sure why I let them follow me, but it seemed like the nice thing to do,” Dubose said. “I followed back because I usually follow back and was curious about the content.”

The Druids account has been selective of who they follow and who they let request them. Kayla Koch, a junior gender studies and psychology double major, follows the account but the Druids never followed her back.

“I followed them because I wanted to see what they posted and it’s an interesting group,” Koch said. “Some of my friends got requested by them, but they never followed me back which was disappointing.”

Even though the Druids have always been a part of campus, some students know little about the society. Greg McDade, a first-year microbiology major, never heard of the Druids until he received a follow request from them.

“I had no idea who or what they were, but I accepted their follow request,” McDade said. “I still don’t know what they are but I let anyone follow my account. A secret society sounds cool, so I’ll follow them to see what they post.”

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