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Banned from your phones but not the stage: TikTok star Chris Olsen to speak at USF

TikToker Chris Olsen will be the first social media star to visit campus since Gov. Ron DeSantis’ app ban. TIKTOK/@chris

Some social media platforms – including TikTok – were banned at Florida’s public universities in July, but USF is bringing the next best thing to the Marshall Student Center Ballroom.

TikTok star Chris Olsen is set to speak at the University Lecture Series (ULS) on Nov. 14 at 8 p.m., according to Hannah Sutherland, Center for Student Involvement (CSI) coordinator. 

The Campus Activity Board (CAB) recently reduced the number of ULS events from two to one per semester. The change was made so CAB could increase a speaker’s pay to garner bigger names and hopefully improve attendance, Sutherland said.

RELATED: ULS events reduced to one per semester to improve attendance

Sutherland did not say how much Olsen will be paid at the time of publication.

Olsen gained popularity on TikTok during the pandemic. His popularity initially stemmed from ‘couple content’ videos with his ex-boyfriend Ian Paget.

The influencer is now recognized by his followers for being open about his mental health care journey and his friendship with singer Meghan Trainor.

By recording and posting his online therapy sessions in a lighthearted way and speaking candidly about his rehabilitation experience as an alcoholic, Olsen has compiled 12.1 million followers and 1.1 billion likes on his TikTok page. 

RELATED: USF bans TikTok, other social media platforms on campus networks

The selection process involved polling students on social media. Based on student interest, CAB reached out to partner talent agencies, Sutherland said.

Sutherland said the list of student selections was cross-referenced with speakers within the CAB budget. The annual budget for ULS is set at $150,000, according to the Oracle.  

Doors will open at 7:30 p.m. and no pre-registration is required, Sutherland wrote. Attendees will be seated on a first come, first serve basis.

Julia Saad, Staff Writer

Julia Saad started as a news correspondent in fall 2022. During Saad's tenure at The Oracle, she has covered a variety of news. However, Saad's favorite topic to cover is being able to place readers in the ambient environments of USF events.