From the quiet student in the back of class, to the faculty member researching a passion, each member of the Mines campus has a unique story to tell. Deirdre Keating, Information Specialist for the College of Engineering and Computational Sciences, recently set out with a camera and an idea to share them all.
Inspired by Brandon Stanton’s well-known “Humans of New York” Facebook page, Keating created a similar “Humans of Mines” page that features photographs of various members of the Mines community along with brief stories and quotes.
“The ultimate goal is to create a sense of community on campus,” she explains. “There are so many people we pass by and we don’t necessarily know their stories.”
When Keating began the Humans of Mines project last summer, she knew its success would depend on a team of collaborators. The team has grown to include Mark Ramirez and Agata Bogucka (Information Specialists for the other two colleges on campus), Kathleen Morton (Mines Communications Manager), and Anna Ristuccia-Glancy (Geological Engineering student).
“Our page is really unique in that it’s successful,” contends Keating. “If you look at the other universities that have tried it, they usually fade out after a few months. I think what is really unique is the team that we have. We each do one day of the week.”
The Humans of Mines Facebook page has grown to over 1,600 likes and is generally visited over 10,000 times a week. Even though the page’s main audience is current students, alumni and prospective students also frequently comment on the posts.
“I think we hit a nerve where there was a need to have a bigger picture,” Keating expresses. “There is a stereotype of Mines students as super bright but super narrowly focused, but this project taps into a diversity of interests and talents.”
Humans of Mines interviewer/photographers ask open-ended questions to get unique responses from students.
“Each of us has our own go-to questions, but a lot of it is just about taking the time to listen a little bit more,” Keating explains.
Since the project began in June, the most rewarding part to Keating has been watching a community grow on a page. For instance, several Mines alumni wrote encouraging comments to a first year student nervous about succeeding at a challenging school like Mines. Another post featuring a student torn between the Physics and Computer Science majors received multiple comments with advice and information about ways to study both.
“It’s a really positive community,” expresses Keating. “I am really impressed with the comments that we get.”
As the project grows and students graduate, the Humans of Mines team is looking for more students to become involved with the project.
“If we have that kind of diverse engineering student who loves their science and math but also has this artistic side, I would love to see them participate,” explains Keating. To keep the quality of photography high, student participants should have their own camera and basic photography experience.
“My favorite part of the program is that it opens my eyes to all of the different facets of Mines,” asserts Keating. “It is a really unique school and people don’t know how many great things are being done by students here.”
View Humans of Mines on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HumansOfMines