‘It is I’: Overheard at Allegheny revealed

Collecting interesting, dynamic quotes is a core feature of good journalism, and in that regard, The Campus has been outdone.
Since the fall of 2019, the @overheard_at_allegheny Instagram account has been collecting and publishing random student-submitted quotes that were, as the name suggests, overheard at Allegheny College.
The account was one of many that first made an appearance on campus alongside the then-first-year class of 2023. For the past year, though, the biography of the account has stated that the account-holder is currently completing their senior comprehensive project, indicating that they are actually a senior. Now that the year is coming to a close, The Campus’s very own Opinion Editor, Kaleigh White, ’22, stepped forward to reveal that she is “Mr. Overheard.”

Kaleigh White, ’22, the face behind “Overheard at Allegheny.”

“It was my sophomore year, I was sitting in (Brooks Dining Hall) and I was really, really bored,” White said.
An overheard-style quotes page is a common creation in many high schools and colleges. Although White has spearheaded the overheard account’s most recent iteration — for which White used underscores in the name because the previous had already been taken — she explained that she had not been the creator of the original, whose identity has been lost to time.
“I had known that people had submitted things to the original overheard at Allegheny but didn’t get any responses and they stopped posting, so I … made another account,” White said. “No one submitted anything for a while because it was hard to get it existing, but then I heard something funny and posted it and it kind of took off.”
White explained that her identity was known to very few. One of her only confidants was her roommate, who does not use Instagram.
One of White’s friends and colleagues, co-Editor-in-Chief of The Campus Ethan Woodfill, ’22, said he only found out White has been moonlighting as Mr. Overheard earlier this year. Uncovering White’s secret took all of Woodfill’s journalistic chops.
“I was at my apartment with friends, and Overheard at Allegheny posted this interesting story about worms on a string,” Woodfill said. “I thought that was interesting because someone on staff, (White), kept asking if we would buy worms on a string with The Campus’ budget.”
Once he made this connection, Woodfill took a more thorough look at the type of content the account had been producing.
“I did some digging on the Overheard at Allegheny page, and I just found that the tone kind of matched (White’s) personality,” Woodfill said.
Woodfill confronted White and was informed that his suspicions were correct.
Many of Mr. Overheard’s posts were revealing of White’s personality in similar ways, but, according to White, she did not have many friends that used social media consistently until students began returning to campus after the college’s COVID-19 protocols were lightened.
“At first I was like, ‘oh, people might care and they might ask me,’ but, highkey, to this day, nobody has asked me and they just don’t care, which is fine by me,” White said. “I didn’t (create the account) because … I need attention, I was just bored and friendless (and it) seemed like fun.”
One of the most fun parts of the job is waiting to see what kinds of things people submit, according to White.
“I like the ones from drunk (McKinley’s),” White said. “A specific one I like a lot is, ‘That sounds like an ish-you and not an ish-me.’ I say that constantly.”
White explained that almost everything sent in is posted, but she will sometimes not post something for any variety of reasons she determines.
“I don’t do much curating, but sometimes I do and I’ll feel bad because I know the person,” White said.
This same aspect of White’s personality — adapting herself to be accessible to as many people as possible — made her an indispensable member of The Campus’s staff, especially through the highly-restrictive 2021-22 academic year.
“(White) joined staff when I was first co-editor-in-chief during my junior year,” Woodfill said. “That came at a time where we were really uncertain about the pandemic. Everyone was scared, and we were meeting online, and the whole vibe was … unusual and not very positive.”
White’s presence helped alleviate some of the tension that was brought about by online meetings and the uncertain future of the group’s college careers.
“(White) would always be making jokes and trying to light up the room and make everybody laugh,” Woodfill said. “That was really important, and I appreciated that she really helped us take things less seriously. That was helpful for me, being a new leader.”
Although White is graduating, her legacy as Mr. Overheard will not go unfilled, though it will appear in a much different form. Beginning in the fall 2022 semester, The Campus will accept submissions and publish a weekly “Overheard at Allegheny” column to continue the tradition and honor the efforts of our soon-to-be-graduated staff member.
“I think I’m content with how I’m leaving it,” White said. “I’ve thought about it a lot, and this feels like the best way to end the era, at least for now. I trust my friends to keep publishing the best submissions, maybe do a nonsensical poll once in a while, and overall just keep a good thing going.”
White expressed that, more than anything, she is thankful for the support the page has received.
“I’m just glad I could make people smile,” White said. “I made the page in a time where I felt unknown, unseen and unwanted on campus, so I really didn’t expect anyone to follow, let alone enjoy it as much as people do. I think a lot of what this page has given me — a way to feel connected to people, lots of laughter, a chance to be goofy — I’ve been able to give back to the people that follow it. I guess ultimately what I want to say is just thank you, for everything.”