Alice Mungyu ’19
Inspired by Humans of New York, many “Humans of…” accounts have developed throughout the years, including our very own on campus which began in September of 2014 during freshman orientation. I interviewed the founder of Humans of Smith College along with a few contributors in order to give us a better understanding of what goes on behind each posting. Quotes have been left unattributed to preserve the anonymity of those involved.
Where did you get the inspiration from?
My personal inspiration came from my interest in people, and my want to get to know the Smith community’s ins and outs. I wanted to know about the people I was going to school with, the teachers I was learning from and the young minds that were living around me. I also wanted everyone else on campus to know about these people. When I was first applying to schools, I looked for social media outlets that somehow portrayed each academic institution. I thought that a Humans of X School would be the best way to capture the lives of students on campus, so I also found my inspiration to make the page in my empathy for prospective students looking at colleges.
How did you get started?
During my freshman orientation we were asked to list a goal of ours for the year. Mine was to start Humans of Smith College and see how it takes off. So I did my first interview with my roommate. I was new to her as a person too, so it was wonderful to have her as the first interviewee. From there, I conducted an interview every day or every other day, just about.
How do you choose a person to be featured?
A feature on HOSC requires either luck of the draw or a submission. We generally choose randomly but try to choose people that we don’t know or don’t know very well when we conduct the interviews. I don’t want one particular group of students to be represented, so I use different student groups, different spots on campus and different classes to choose my person.
On the other hand, HOSC encourages students to submit pictures of themselves with captions that accompany them. If a student does this, 9 times out of 10 it will get submitted. That 1 out of 10 chance is a matter of pure mistake or unfortunate forgetfulness.
What type of questions do you tend to ask?
It varies; we try to mix up our questions so the page doesn’t end up with similar answers. The questions are meant to show a person’s personality, background, race or ethnicity. It is hard to condense a person into a single quote so we try to get something that is unique and quirky.
How many postings do you do in a day/week?
We try to post daily, but it depends on each person’s schedule.
Are you interested in getting more people to contribute/help out with the page?
Definitely. Studying abroad made me reach out to other Smithies to help me with the page. My freshman and sophomore year I worked completely alone. Once or twice I asked a friend to conduct an interview for me when I was off campus. During summers, I reposted pictures from Smith student’ summer adventures. Doing things this way was merely a matter of a lack of knowledge. I didn’t have any sense of who would want to contribute or help out, and no one had approached me or approached the page.
Moving forward, I want as many more people as possible to contribute/help out with the page. People who have cameras, camera skills, interests in interviewing or journalism, interest in people, interest in advertising, or pure love for Smith. I think that even a person with hate for Smith would acquire a love for it after being a part of HOSC, and even if not, would provide a different perspective for the page. So students and Smithies, come join!