A group of students on the Hill have a new idea for relaying messages – sending them on bananas.
Banana Grahams allows students to send messages on bananas to anyone living on the Hill. The service has only been up and running for about a week, yet more than 100 students have followed the group’s Instagram page and many have sent bananas, said Brandon Dashtizad, a first-year biochemistry student who helped create Banana Grahams.
“We didn’t really expect it to turn into something, but we’re kind of astonished that people are interested in having bananas covered with messages,” Dashtizad said.
Dashtizad came up with the idea to send messages on bananas after seeing someone doodle on a banana with a marker. To manage the orders, Dashtizad and his friends created an Instagram page called Banana Riebublic – an ode to their Rieber Hall home.
Students direct-message the service through its Instagram page if they want to send a banana. Dashtizad said the service itself is free, though there is an option to donate. The group hopes to use any donations to create care packages for the homeless in Westwood. After receiving a DM, a member of the service writes the message on a whiteboard in the second-floor lounge of Rieber Hall for future delivery.
Members of the Banana Grahams team, which now consists of 20 to 25 students, all live on the second floor of Rieber Hall and began working together after Dashtizad and his friends discussed the service in the floor’s lounge.
Each member fulfills a variety of jobs, including writing messages on bananas and keeping track of deliveries. While most team members complete standard banana deliveries, first-year theater and acting student Graham Farrell delivers bananas in a banana suit when possible.
“I delivered a couple of them and people were kind of astonished that they got a banana with a message on it,” Dashtizad said. “Laughter is the most common reaction we get.”
Diana Ramirez, a first-year political science student who lives on the second floor of Rieber Hall, was walking to class when someone on her floor told her about the Instagram page.
Ramirez followed the page because she thought it was funny, and said she plans on sending her friend in Hedrick Hall a banana with the word “nerd” spelled backwards – an inside joke they share.
Jonathan Gross, a second-year developmental biology student, followed the Instagram page after his roommate showed him the page and received a banana. Gross sent a banana to his friend with the message, “Good for You,” on it with music notes, a reference to the singer Aminé, because his friend is a fan of the artist, Gross said.
Gross had seen fruit-messaging services on Instagram before, but had never participated in them before Banana Grahams. However, he said eggplants would be a funny alternative.
Dashtizad said he is surprised about how many students are interested in Banana Grahams, but is glad they are enjoying the service.
“At this point, we’re pretty much just along for the ride to see where this goes,” Dashtizad said. “We didn’t really (have) any expectations to start with and we don’t have any now.”