Inspired by the story-telling blog Humans of NY, the Mission and Ministry Center created Humans of SMC. The new Instagram page looks to share students’ stories and experiences as we return to campus life and our SMC community.
By Isabelle Delostrinos
Have you ever sat down in a coffee shop and observed the people around you? Have you ever wondered about what their personality is like, where they came from, or why they even decided to be at the coffee shop? Every single day, we come across new people. From simple moments like walking past a stranger or meeting someone at a job interview, we have crossed paths with thousands of people over our lifetime. We tend to forget that the people around us are humans too. They’ve gone through things like heartbreak, happiness, successes, and failures, but constant focus on ourselves and our own struggles keeps us from celebrating our neighbors. There are millions of stories that people have to tell about their lives. Although we’ll never get to listen to all of them, Humans of NY inspires us to learn about the people around us.
Humans of NY was a project started by Brandon Stanton. After being laid off from his 9 to 5, Stanton left for New York City and decided to take a chance on photography full time. What began as a goal to photograph 10,000 New Yorkers later turned into a story-telling blog highlighting people from all over the world. Stanton would converse with every person he photographed. In the bustling streets of New York, it was difficult for Stanton to find an approachable person. But his friendly aura allowed people to share their most personal stories. Amazed by their experiences and the level of intimacy they shared, Stanton couldn’t help but spread the word about these people.
The impact of these interactions not only hit home for Stanton, but for the world as well. People were able to connect with strangers because of their similar experiences. Others learned life lessons by reading about different perspectives and outlooks on life. Since 2013, Humans of NY has been published into two books, produced into a docuseries on Facebook, and branched off into countries all over the world. Miniseries were also created to focus on specific groups, like prison inmates, pediatric cancer patients, Syrian Americans, and refugees. Its concept has been taken on by inspired readers and turned into things like Dogs of NY and has now reached our very own campus as Humans of SMC.
Humans of SMC was established this year by SMC’s Mission and Ministry Center. After the heat of the global pandemic, our Saint Mary’s campus is finally flourishing again with an open campus. The student body is back to rebuild the community and Humans of SMC hopes to be a part of the process.
Students will have the chance to share their stories and experiences about the pandemic, online learning, transitioning back to in-person classes, and more. The page looks to demonstrate intimacy and vulnerability as a reminder that our peers around campus are human too. Our classmates aren’t just people we have to do group projects with or people we just see walking across Chapel Lawn. They’re people with who we can connect and create relationships past the classroom.
Humans of SMC looks to create a safe space on campus for students to be open about what they’ve been through because it can be helpful to those around them. Storytelling is a powerful tool that can be used to create meaningful connections, stronger relationships, and awareness of what’s happening around us. To learn about the people around us, you can find the Humans of SMC page on Instagram @_humansofsmc_. To share your story, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ryan Ford '23,