The humans behind “Humans”

by Haley Williams, Harvey Creasey–

Blacksburg, Va., Dec. 13, 2017: Humans of Virginia Tech — Posts like these are featured regularly on the organization’s Facebook page. Photos courtesy of Humans of Virginia Tech.

 

To many, Virginia Tech’s student population of 30,000 feels overwhelmingly big — not to mention the thousands of faculty and community members in Blacksburg. One Facebook page is using its platform to showcase the different people in the area.

“Humans of Virginia Tech,” based on the popular “Humans of New York” page, aims to remind Hokies that there’s more to each of us than meets the eye. “Humans of Virginia Tech” regularly displays Blacksburg community members with a portrait and a story, sharing different personalities and personas to perfect strangers on the Internet.

From students with unique hobbies — like unicycling — to eccentric professors — like VT’s John Boyer — to some more serious posts, the editors of Humans of Virginia Tech try to make campus feel a little smaller.

Editor and incoming Vice President of “Humans of Virginia Tech,” Maddie Ide, said her most impactful posts came last year, when the page did a full week focusing on victims of sexual assault.

“[The community] will see a story that’s kind of hard and personal to share and they just flood [the subject] with love and support, it’s really nice,” Ide said.

With over 50 photojournalists, subjects aren’t too hard to find. Using their networks and friends of friends, the photojournalist and editor team has posted over 700 portraits of Blacksburg community members.

The page has a strong following of over 17,000 “likes,” but organization president Ricky Lam hopes that will soon reach 30,000.

“I hope we can reach up to the amount of the student population,” Lam said about the page’s number of likes. “We’re about halfway there.”

Lam also detailed his most powerful post, which featured a graduate student impacted by President Trump’s travel ban earlier this year.

Some other post subjects include a street poet, a student with a popular Golden Retriever, and a musician who has played on College Avenue for decades. The only thing any of them have in common is their pure originality.

According to the “Humans of Virginia Tech” website, community members can request that they or someone they know be featured on the page.

Lam said that the University recognizes the “Humans of Virginia Tech” page, and that President Tim Sands has referenced it more than once. If the page were to be an official university institution, however, the name would have to change to “Humans at Virginia Tech” — something Lam and Ide agree could kill their brand.