On my way up the stairs to the third floor of the student center, I see a middle-aged man sitting in a chair by the fireplace. His young daughter sits on his lap, staring eagerly at the many banners hanging from the stairwell. They do not speak in the time that I see them, only stare at the colors all around them. Neither of them pay notice to the maroon T-shirt he wears, grease and sweat stains already signifying the arduous hours he has put in. Neither of them pay notice to the dark hat that covers his balding spot.
In this moment, the man is not just another “Pub-worker,” as many St. Lawrence students have labeled him. Not just another person cooking or giving the students food, not just another person walking by wordlessly in the Pub. No, in this moment, he is much more than this. I assume he is a proud father, someone showing off his place of employment to his daughter. But I want to know more. I want to know what it is that brought him here today, why it is that he chose this chair in front of the fireplace. Why St. Lawrence University? This everyday man and his everyday moment leave me in awe as I continue walking up the stairs and watch as he holds his daughter closer. Although such a brief interaction, I am amazed at how much more there is to know about this man. He is a human of St. Lawrence University and I want to know his story.
This is only a small example of the work I will produce during my fellowship at SLU this summer. Inspired by Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York” project, I will be observing, interviewing, filming, and photographing the people at SLU with the intention of defining what it means to be part of this community. Keep your eyes open for a “Humans of SLU” blog and Facebook page that is aiming to start up in early June. To hold you off until then, feel free to visit the fascinating original “Humans of New York” page: http://www.humansofnewyork.com/
Maggie Sullivan ’15