With her songs in the charts, her name in the news and her face on every screen from television to TikTok, Taylor Swift is a figure you can’t shake off. A new addition to the College of William and Mary will bring the superstar’s presence even closer to home. The Taylor Swift Club launches this semester, its founders aiming to create a haven for the artist’s diehard fans — nicknamed Swifties — to bond over and celebrate their shared interest in the pop icon.
The Taylor Swift Club will hold their inaugural interest meeting Tuesday Feb. 6 at 7 p.m. in Washington Hall 302. The club plans to host bi-weekly meetings at the same time and place. Board members’ plans for future meetings include friendship bracelet making, a tradition popularized during Swift’s recent Eras Tour, as well as Swift-themed trivia, karaoke and listening parties for any upcoming album releases.
“I definitely want input from the members because there are definitely going to be things that I didn’t think of that I’m sure will be so much fun to do as a group,” Taylor Swift Club President, Addy Al-Saigh ’27 said.
Al-Saigh was inspired to found the Taylor Swift Club after seeing coverage of other universities’ Swift-centered classes and clubs online but finding no equivalent representation of the singer at the College. Al-Saigh began the process of starting the club last fall, from attending meetings to writing and revising a club constitution.
“I think this would be such a great addition to William and Mary, to have this place, because she’s so popular, and I just feel like it would get a lot of interest,” Al-Saigh said.
Taylor Swift Club Vice President, Nat Burg ’27, was introduced to Al-Saigh by mutual friends, who heard both Swifties express their love for the artist and their interest in starting a related club. Al-Saigh contacted Burg to collaborate on leading and launching the organization after having set up most of the club logistics on her own.
“I just feel so honored that she trusts me and that she came to me,” Burg said.
Even before their first meeting, the Taylor Swift Club is attracting a reputation of its own. Al-Saigh reflected on her amazement at the immediate interest shown in the club, with their Instagram page amassing over 100 followers in the first few days following its launch.
Prospective Taylor Swift Club member Lauren Leister ’27 recalled her excitement upon seeing the club advertised on Instagram and remembered adding the upcoming interest meeting to her calendar as soon as the announcement popped up on her feed. Leister acknowledged that the large presence of Swift’s fan base on campus made the club’s early momentum no surprise.
“We’re everywhere — you can find a Swiftie in every room that you enter,” Leister said. “So to be able to bring all of those people to one place to be able to connect and bond over something that, to me, is really important and has been a big impact on my life is something that I wanted to be a part of.”
Taylor Swift Club members attribute some of the club’s popularity to recent surges in Swift’s fame beyond her already established stardom. Al-Saigh observed how Swift’s accomplishments reached new heights in 2023, as she was named Time’s Person of the Year and broke records with her Eras Tour.
“This tour just changed some kind of dynamic, and it made her so much more popular,” Al-Saigh said. “I’ve met some people who are only fans of her as of recently, not way back, and they say that it’s because of what she did over the pandemic because nobody else was putting out music.”
Swift’s extensive career history was also acknowledged as a significant contributor to her continued appeal. Burg described how the nostalgia associated with Swift’s biggest hits maintains the singer’s status as a household name at the College and beyond
“She’s shaped a part of the soundtrack to everybody’s lives in some way, shape or form,” Burg said. “Everybody will always know the lyrics to ‘Love Story,’ ‘You Belong With Me.’ If you go to any of the parties, as soon as you hear that famous guitar riff, everybody will be screaming.”
Leister further emphasized that the devotion of these long-time Swifties has been strengthened by the many controversies that Swift has been involved in over her career, from disputes over ownership of her older albums to feuds with celebrities like Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.
“Throughout all of that, she’s just gained more people who see her side of things and want to back her up, and because of that, we can all connect over that,” Leister said.
Aside from her music, club members mentioned their admiration for Swift and her positivity in the face of such controversies. Leister expressed an interest in emulating these ideals as a part of future club activities.
“I know she’s very involved in charity, so I feel like we could try to take on some of those roles too, giving back to the community and the organizations that she also values a lot,” Leister said.
Despite the scale of Swift’s stardom, though, club members also consistently named the profound relatability of Swift’s lyricism as a major factor that draws them to the musician.
“I really related to her music because I saw her as an older sister figure who went through the same heartbreaks, went through the same growing pains and same conflicts,” Burg said. “Whenever I couldn’t talk to my mom or couldn’t talk to a friend, I thought, ‘wow, here’s this amazing singer who’s putting into words exactly how I feel.’”
Some Swifties note that the deep connection fans hold to Swift’s lyrics makes for a more vulnerable, connected fan community, which stands to be an advantage in creating a tight-knit club atmosphere.
“She writes about things that people experience and don’t think anybody else experiences, but then you listen to the song, and you’re like, ‘wow, somebody else has also felt those things, and that’s okay,’” Leister said. “So because of that, I think a lot of people have connected, and not only connected with her, but then connected with each other because it’s just such a big bonding point.”
With Swifties secure in the unity of their fan base, Taylor Swift Club leaders expressed hope at building a club environment characterized by strong community and friendships built on a shared ‘love story’ with Swift’s music.
“Figuring out that people are less alone, and they go through the same things that we do—I think that overall makes it so much easier to connect with others and overall provide, hopefully, a distraction, maybe a good part of somebody’s day,” Burg said.