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Humans of Shenandoah captures campus community

Rachel Stalker, ‘Doah Staff Writer
October 1, 2014

'Doah photo by Rachel Stalker

‘Doah photo by Rachel Stalker

Three weeks ago, Juniors Grace Eisenhauer and Steven Mangano started Humans of Shenandoah University which is a “student-led photography project inspired by Humans of New York that celebrates the Shenandoah University community and its stories.” It highlights photographs of different people around campus everyday, no matter if they are staff, students or faculty members.

If you’re not familiar with Humans of New York, it is a Facebook photo blog started by photographer Brandon Stanton, whose goal was to photograph and hear stories of people all over New York City.

Grace has followed the Humans of New York page, had seen a Humans of Virginia Tech page and thought that it could be implemented at S.U. She approached Steven to help her start this project, as they both just started to become interested in photography. Grace and Steven sought the help of Cathy Kuehner in Student Life to help write their mission and vision statements for the page. After they established those two elements, they started finding people to photograph, taking photos and asking people around campus about their lives.

Grace calls each interview a “drive-by interview.” “Usually we ask them, ‘when you leave campus, what sort of things do you like to do?’” stated Eisenhauer. “We just want them to be natural and tell us something that we wouldn’t know right away.” Mangano and Eisenhauer both claimed that it has been a growing experience for both of them. It takes a lot of courage to walk up to someone you don’t know or have never seen before and ask them to tell you something personal, but they have had great responses so far. A member of the staff, Crystal, told Grace, “My husband and I have built four houses, and I’m in a beginner photography group where I’ve won first place in a few of their contests!” This is just one example of the type of response Grace and Steven get from their interviews.

“Being comfortable in someone else’s bubble” was one challenge Steven said he was trying to overcome. “We can’t stand ten feet away from someone to take a close-up profile shot of them,” laughed Steven. It is easy to tell that both Steven and Grace take these interviews seriously, but that they also want it to be fun and enjoyable for their interviewee.

“This is an interview process where we want to hear about them, and even though they are aware of that, they are also interested in our lives,” recalled Eisenhauer her interviews thus far. “It makes you think about the humanity of it all. People thrive on relationships that are two-way.”

“Our goal is to celebrate the people on campus.”

Search “Humans of Shenandoah University” on Facebook, and like their page for daily updates and photos!

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