It’s the time of year when we count down the days until the new year and await our curated Spotify Wrapped line ups and other summaries of our media consumption.

In the spirit of reflection, here’s a Bates version of Wrapped for the college’s two major social media channels: Instagram and Facebook.

In 2023, the Bates Instagram published 610 posts and stories, making 3.11 million impressions and attracting 231,727 engagements.

We ranked each top 10 by the most engaging posts, the ones that got the most likes (reactions), comments, shares (or, for Instagram, saves). We’ve also included the “reach” metric for each post, which tracks the number of individual users who viewed the post at least once.

Without further ado, here are the 10 most-viewed Instagram posts of 2023, plus one Honorarble Mention.

Top 10 Instagram posts

Honorable Mention

When the historic ice storm struck Bates, Maine, and the Northeast in January 1998, current Bates students weren’t born yet. But they and others were captivated by this image captured by Phyllis Graber Jensen, posted on the 25th anniversary of the storm, of ice-encased tree limbs littering the Historic Quad in front of Hathorn Hall.

Engagements: 1,641

Reach: 12,219

10. 3 reasons not to go to Bates:

A dash of irony and a pinch of surprise makes this question-and-answer video crumpet work well. Despite the obvious snow and cold of this March day in Maine, these two students could find no reason that one should not go to Bates.

Engagements: 1,847

Reach: 104,540

9.  Bates responds to Supreme Court’s ruling on race-conscious college admissions

On June 29, President Clayton Spencer and President-elect Garry W. Jenkins collaborated on the college’s response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that race-based affirmative action programs in college admissions processes are unconstitutional. The Bates community responded with strong support.

Engagements: 1,855

Reach: 15,319

8. There’s snow time like winter

On a chilly Monday morning in March, as snow blanketed the Historic Quad, Bates photographer Phyllis Graber Jensen was there to document it all: colorful, warm winter clothing; students making their way to classes with their winter hoods up; and the Facilities Services folks working to keep the snow at bay, or at least off the walkways and doorways. 

Engagements: 1,879

Reach: 10,466

7. And they’re off!

The 157th Commencement was held on May 28, 2023. Congratulations to the Class of 2023 as they embark on their next journey and continue to discover and learn more about the world around them.

Engagements: 1,929

Reach: 10,703

6. They came, they jumped

The 2023 Puddle Jump was a splashing success! Dressed as bananas, ballerinas, and more, students took a dip into frigid waters while enjoying a balmy 52-degree day. The Puddle Jump has been an annual Bates tradition since 1975. We’re jumping with joy about these images!

Engagements: 2,027

Reach: 12,102

5. ‘The brightness that shines through the dark’

Led by the Rev. Brittany Longsdorf, the college’s multifaith chaplain, the vigil honoring the 18 lives lost during the Oct. 25 Lewiston shootings gave the campus community an opportunity to come together for silence, candlelight, poetry, interfaith prayers, and, ultimately, to share communal grief for their Lewiston community. 

Engagements: 2,117

Reach: 11,238

4. Bates’ new president!

On March 1, the Board of Trustees unanimously elected Garry W. Jenkins, dean and William S. Pattee Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota School of Law, to become the next president of Bates. 

In the announcement of his appointment, Jenkins was described as a nationally respected legal scholar, proven higher education leader, and a longtime champion of the liberal arts. He becomes the college’s ninth president since its 1855 founding and its first Black president.

As he said in the announcement: “Simply put, everything about Bates and its culture resonates with me.” Sounds good to us! 

Engagements: 2,587

Reach: 11,836

3. The sweetest treat

In the days after the Lewiston shootings, Bates students, supported by a number of campus offices and the American Red Cross, decided to transform a planned trick-or-treating event from something modest into something much bigger.

All along Alumni Walk and Bardwell Street, and extending to Frye Street, Bates students set up treat stations, often gathering with their sports teams, clubs, and organizations. And the surrounding community flocked to campus. On everyone’s face, one could see how powerful and good it felt to help bring some joy to the people of our city and home.

Engagements:  2,601

Reach: 11,717

2. Be like Pedro

It’s fun to bring a popular and funny TikTok meme, like the one of actor Pedro Pascal placidly munching on a snack, into a Bates space.

While everyone else in Commons is starting to lose their minds about all the Bates work and assignments they’ve let pile up, Pascal has it all locked down as he enjoys a Commons sandwich — or two.

Engagements: 2,760

Reach: 26,810

1. Life on campus resumed on Saturday, Oct. 28

This carousel shows life on campus on Oct. 28, as the community tries to return to some semblance of normalcy after the local authorities’ shelter-in-place order was lifted following the Lewiston shootings on Oct. 25.

One of the photographs by Phyllis Graber Jensen shows a floral arrangement at the college’s Veterans Plaza, sent by a Bates alumnus. An accompanying note read: “Thinking of the Lewiston community. In memory of the lives lost and wishing peace and comfort to families who lost loved ones too soon.”

Other photographs show student-made “Lewiston Strong “ signs hanging from residences and academic buildings, as the Bates community stands in solidarity with the Lewiston community.

Engagements: 4,078

Reach: 17,091

Top 10 Facebook posts

10. Successful succession

It’s only happened eight other times since Bates became a college: Cheney to Chase to Gray to Phillips to Reynolds to Harward to Hansen to Spencer.

And, at midnight on June 30, 2023, the metaphorical presidential baton was passed once more, from Clayton Spencer to Garry W. Jenkins, Bates’ ninth president.

Engagements: 280

Reach: 4,891

9. Feeling like fall

They say that the very wet and very cloudy summer of 2023 in New England was to blame for the muted fall colors around these parts. Still, there was enough to go around as students returned from fall break in October to enjoy autumn colors. As early morning fog rose from the surface of Lake Andrews, colorful leaves painted delightful scenes around campus — bringing joy to onlookers. What’s not to like?

Engagements: 308

Reach: 12,520

8. A warm welcome

Among the famous firsts of 2023 was President-elect Garry W. Jenkins’ first official visit to campus and his first remarks to the community on March 7.

During his remarks, Jenkins introduced his husband, Jon J. Lee, a professor of law. “Jon and I are both looking forward to getting to know you all on a personal level and making Lewiston our home,” Jenkins said. Afterward, students, faculty, and staff lined up to welcome and take selfies with their new president, proving, as Jenkins said, it was “a great day to be a Bobcat.”

Engagements: 328

Reach: 6,384

8. Sticking with it

The Bates field hockey team had a historic 2023 season, making it all the way to the second round of the NCAA playoffs, finishing the season with a 13-6 overall record.

This post shares a dozen “CatFacts” — an occasional Bates News feature sharing trivia and tidbits about Bates — about this amazing team, ranging from the sisters who are a dynamic duo on the field hockey squad to a selection of some of the players’ favorite music artists.

Engagements: 349

Reach: 11,178

7. Curious clouds

While visiting Wolfe’s Neck Center for Agriculture and the Environment with his family, Bates Associate Professor of Biology Andrew Mountcastle captured this photo of his son Oscar jumping on the rocks at the sustainable, coastal farm in Freeport. Captivated by what he called “the “beautiful, dreamlike cloud formations” overhead, Mountcastle entered the image in the annual Employee Photo Contest and won “Best in Show,” which is how we got our hands on it.

Engagements: 366

Reach: 18, 717

6. A meaningful message

Twelve hours after the Lewiston shootings of Oct. 25, as the campus followed a shelter-in-place order from local authorities, President Garry W. Jenkins released a statement addressing the tragedy and the state of Bates community members who were near or at the shooting locations. 

Jenkins urged the Bates community to reach out for the resources being offered by the school, to connect with people around you, and “to take good care, and take care of each other.”

“May we continue to seek and find strength in one another as we work through the fallout from this horrifying act of violence,” Jenkins wrote.

Engagements: 437

Reach: 6,543

5. Life resumes

Life on campus began to resume on Oct. 28, the afternoon after the shelter-in-place order had been lifted. Bates photographer Phyllis Graber Jensen documented the beginning of the aftermath of the tragedy: flowers at the college’s Veterans Plaza, “Lewiston Strong” banners hanging from residences and academic buildings, campus flags at half-staff; and President Garry W. Jenkins out and about with his husband, Jon Lee, checking in with students.

Engagements: 579

Reach: 10,046

3. Halloween happiness

The post had it right: The Halloween trick or treat event on campus “was an absolute blast — and we think the trick-or-treaters had fun, too.” Meaning, everyone felt some joy, unexpected joy, given the events of Oct. 25.

Engagements: 649

Reach: 9,750

2. Welcome home, Class of 2027!

The No. 2 post this year shows President Garry W. Jenkins surrounded by students welcoming the 509 members of the Class of 2027 to campus as they arrived at Bates on Aug. 31. It also linked to a Bates News story that is always a perennial favorite: the list of many ways the incoming class is made up of champions of engagement and action.

“They’re problem solvers,” says Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Leigh Weisenburger.

Engagements: 1,411

Reach: 23, 454

1. Monumental math moment

Even those of us who work as social media managers don’t have full access to the magic that occurs when a particular post gains traction and catapults far beyond the Bates universe.

This was the case with our story featuring Professor of Mathematics Adriana Salerno’s national teaching award, which achieved incredible international reach.

What is not a mystery are the real congratulations to a talented and devoted professor, seen in the many, many comments of appreciation, genuine and heartfelt, in the No. 1 Facebook post of 2023.

Engagements: 1,560

Reach: 16,878

Categories Academic Life