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Celebrity Cutouts Help in Social Distancing at This Malaysian University

Students can choose to sit next to BTS’ Jungkook, Taylor Swift, and Will Smith, among other personalities.
02 July 2020, 9:59am
Photo: Courtesy of Sunway University

As the world enters its sixth month battling COVID-19, it remains essential for people to continue following social distancing regulations and not let their guards down. Factoring this in, a university in Malaysia had to make sure its students wouldn’t sit too close to each other once classes resume. They could have easily used floor tapes to segregate certain areas and call it a day but instead, went for a different strategy that’s infinitely more fun. Now “sitting” in classrooms are life-size cutouts of celebrities.

On July 1, Sunway University posted a series of photos on Facebook of students’ first day back in school since quarantine started. Apart from lecture rooms, the celebs were also in dining areas, hallways, and benches.

Celebrities included singers Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, and BTS’ Jungkook. There were also athletes like Lionel Messi, inspiring personalities like Malala Yousafzai, and historic figures like Albert Einstein.


Jungkook from BTS. Photo: Courtesy of Sunway University


Mr. Bean and J.K. Rowling. Photo: Courtesy of Sunway University


Malala Yousafzai. Photo: Courtesy of Sunway University

Angela Chiew, who works at the branding and corporate communications department at Sunway Education Group, told VICE that these personalities were chosen for their outstanding contributions to society. Some for their inventions, others for their academic brilliance or sheer popularity. The cutouts also provide unique photo opportunities for students and their families.

“As part of our ongoing measure to inform and encourage our student community with regards to social distancing on campus, we thought of making [an] interactive and innovative approach, by creating an international team of celebrity Social Distance Companions,” Chiew said.

Sunway University's new "students" have helped make the initiative go viral.

And they’re just getting started. In its most recent Instagram post, Sunway University posted a silhouette of a man and a woman, and asked students who they want to see on campus: “There is still room on campus for a few more Social Distancing Companions. Who would you like to see join our community?”

Requests in the comments section include Got7 member Jackson Wang, Tom Holland, and Harry Styles.

Find Miran on Instagram.