by Howard Purvee
The January night is cold, and the wind is biting as it howls along the sidewalks of Troy University. This doesn’t stop The Banana Bandits, a group of students who have been leaving bananas around campus since April 2022. Under the cover of darkness, two people dressed in banana costumes scurry along. They stop, scanning the area for prying eyes, before carefully placing bananas – their calling card – atop the fencing in front of The Dining Hall. After that, it’s back off into the night to plan their next stunt.
The Banana Bandits have garnered a following on TikTok of over 185,000 and their videos combined have neared six million views. The Bandits are known for placing bananas in comical locations around campus while dressed as bananas themselves. The Tropolitan has agreed not to share The Bandits’ names to preserve their gimmick.
Most of the statues on campus have held a banana by now, including The Thinker statue located next to Pace Hall, which was seen pondering a banana in a previous semester.
For those wondering how this situation began, one of The Banana Bandits themselves recalls that fateful spring afternoon.
“We were just walking across campus eating bananas and we noticed a banana would fit perfectly in this statue’s hand,” said The Bandit. “It became a tradition, and then people started noticing.”
The rest is history. Since then, The Bandits have spent many days and nights scoping out, planning, and placing bananas in prime areas on campus for maximum notoriety.
It is not just university students who are amused by the banana antics.
“I don’t really see any negative, it’s harmless fun and it’s silly” said Stephen Brown, the Assistant Athletic Director of Marketing and Fan Engagement. “It’s getting attention and I’m here for it.”
Some students said they are excited to see what they do next. Mallory Burcham, a sophomore graphic design major from Decatur, Alabama, said The Banana Bandits always cheer her up.
“It makes me smile when I see a banana on campus,” Burcham said. “Even when it’s just a random banana, it makes me think of them.”
“They’re a net positive,” said Issac Barkley, a cybersecurity major from Gadsden, Alabama.“They haven’t caused any damage to any school property or anything, and I enjoy their content.”
The Bandit said they do their best to leave Troy University as one of Alabama’s most beautiful campuses.
“We leave the food out for one day, long enough to show we’ve been there and to leave our mark, and then we pick them up the next night,” The Bandit said.
What do they do with all these bananas? That question was answered too.
“We donate them to a local farmer, and he uses the bananas to feed goats, cows, and donkeys,” The Bandit said. “He uses the peels for the soil and feeds some to the chickens.
“We’ve actually hand fed some of the goats which was cool.”
For The Banana Bandits, their almost-year-long potassium placement has a positive purpose.
“We love our fans, that’s for sure.” said The Bandit. “Our goal first and foremost is to entertain the fans.”
With that in mind, students and faculty will have to wait to see when and where The Bandits strike next.