If you’re a student at Regent and you have an Instagram account, you have probably heard of Humans of RU. You may have even been featured in it. The sometimes funny, other times deep captions add amusement and a personal Regent touch to your otherwise-selfie-filled Instagram newsfeed. As is common with most social phenomena at Regent, this is the type of quaint and unique thing that only happens at #onlyRegent. In fact, the #HumansofRU hashtag is quickly gaining as much popularity as our beloved #onlyRegent.
Humans of RU was inspired by the Instagram account Humans of NY, which features portraits of random people from throughout the city along with a little quote or story about them. Its tagline is “New York City, one story at a time,” and is meant to add depth to the breadth of information known about the citizens of NYC.
One day, a Regent student referenced Humans of NY and exclaimed how cool it would be for us to have our very own version of it. Enter TJ Ting. Ting is a 22-year-old CTV major from Chesapeake, VA who is in his senior year here at Regent. The talented photographer thought that was a great idea, and he began taking pictures and conducting mini-interviews (as in one-question-impromptu-interviews) around campus. He used his personal account to post the pictures.
When asked what his goal was, Ting said,
“Honestly, I didn’t have a goal. Instagram seems like such a selfish output for people to take selfies and glorify themselves. I thought it would be cool if someone took pictures of other people rather than himself.”
Ting found that it was fun to ask people random questions and hear their honest and frank answers. There’s no specific way to request to be featured—you just have to be at the right place at the right time in order to be approached by him. If you are lucky enough to be ambushed with a Humans of RU question, be spontaneous and answer candidly. If there’s one thing that turns Ting off (or at least bores him) about doing this, it is when he starts to hear pre-rehearsed cookie-cutter answers repeatedly.
When asked what his favorite thing is about doing Humans of RU, he replied, “I love listening to what people say. Sometimes I get really lame answers like ‘Jesus loves you’ or an over-quoted piece of scripture when asked a simple question. I love it when people can be real with me and give me a real answer to the questions. One guy told me that people can be ‘crappy,’ yet someone still died for us.”
If Ting had to pick a favorite quote from this project, it would be this one: “I can read all the books I want…but I learn the most from people.”
As for the future of this project? “I guess Humans of RU will keep going as long as people are interested. Once I graduate I was thinking about handing it off to another CTV major.” Who knows—we may be witnessing the origins of an #onlyRegent tradition.
Here are some samples from #HumansofRU. If you’re interested in seeing more, TJ Ting’s Instagram user name is @bamboogatherertj