by Ali Snow
It’s no secret that Utah State University is not what we might consider the most diverse campus. But what if we discard the typical enrollment statistics regarding gender, race, socioeconomic status and religion? Don’t we all contribute to the diversity of our communities by just being ourselves, unique human beings who are tiny microcosms of the universe?
Taking inspiration from Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York,” photographer Kate Palmer and I decided to catalog the human existence at USU. The following are snapshots and words containing universal truths gathered from chance encounters on campus. Although we may not all share these exact experiences, we can relate to aspects of each story. And the funny thing is, the more we study diversity, the more we realize just how similar we are.
“There is nothing more powerful than your mind. Physically running is hard, but your mind can overcome your body every single time.”
Hammock: “Have you ever heard of Humans of New York?” “I’m from New York!”
Artist-Geologist: “I’ve never taken any art classes.” Do you sell your art? “Yes, it’s kind of how I make a living. It’s put me through school. The internet is great help.”
“We were looking for puppies and he was actually at the Cache Humane Society and I saw him online and knew, ‘That’s my puppy, and he’s coming home with me.’ You see them and you just know.”
“This is not the first puppetry assignment I’ve brought home. I have roommates who are civil engineering, accounting and political science majors and they come home with these massive math assignments and I’m like, ‘Oh look! I made a monkey puppet!’”
“It’s kinda cheesy. Well, there was this missionary girl in my home ward [in Maryland] and I knew she’d finish her mission in October. So I applied here in November and got in and I came. I was supposed to go to Boston College actually. But it didn’t work out between us.”
“I really am happiest when I’m just with my friends and family — when I’m just laughing, having a good time, when it’s not structured and planned and we’re going out and doing things on a whim. That’s when I’m the most happy is when I can just let loose and be myself.”
Her: “He’s so funny.” Him: “She doesn’t make me feel stupid. And she’s always happy. Even when I’m mad because a W-4 form was filled out wrong and some lady couldn’t find it and lost our Social Security numbers.” Her: [laughing] “That just happened like 30 seconds ago.” Him: “But that’s how you get through stuff like that, with someone happy by your side.”
“I think that, for me, my inspiration comes from knowing where my family has been and knowing that my ancestors are watching out for me still.… I believe that my ancestors are with me. Learning through their experiences, I know that I can do great things as well.”
“We’ve known each other since we were five, actually. And she’s going to college at University of Nevada, Reno. We’re both going to finish up school. Luckily she’s a sophomore so that’s a year less, but it’ll be a good three years before we’re actually with each other. We’re making it work.”
“I’m a freshman … but don’t judge me, I have my associate’s degree!”
“I am who I am. I honestly believe that I contribute most by just being me. Just being friendly and happy.”
“When I first came here, I didn’t know where I was going. People say ‘America, America,’ but you get here and it is totally something else. Every state is different, you know. You go to California and it’s like a totally different country, both culturally and visually. You come to Utah and even people’s mentality is different. I didn’t know what ‘American’ meant … and I still don’t know.”