Humans of East Lansing:the student media at MSU

Bingqing Mao
Profile feature Story
Michele Joseph

With each social media post, Humans of East Lansing shares the stories of people known and unknown: a professor whose career was an “accident”, an Iraq taxi driver created character of his work based on his passengers, and how the owner of Udon connected multi-cultures in his restaurant.
“Every day we see strangers walking about, the people we don’t know who exist all around us. The people who we may see many times throughout our lives, or just once and then never again. We all feel the same emotions, just in different ways, and it's those differences that set us apart and make us who we are. ” posted on Humans of East Lansing Facebook page.
“I really like the idea about the Humans of New York. I think it is a performance art and renaissance.” said Zi’an Li, one founder of Humans of East Lansing. “I enjoy talking with different people and sharing stories, it is interesting. However, I find it is difficult for Chinese students to be involved, and some Chinese students do have talents but lack of opportunities. So I think maybe I could provide a platform for those students to show their abilities.”
He contacted with Tianjiao Wang and Alexander J. Cronin (Alex) to start Humans of East Lansing, a college student media inspired by Humans of New York. 
“Tianjiao is good at photography, Alex is a native speaker, and I come up with ideas, we complement each other.” said Li.
Driven by passions, these three freshmen began their adventures.
On Feb. 17, they posted the first story on Facebook page.
On Feb. 24, Chinese version of Humans of East Lansing was built on WeChat.
They interviewed taxi drivers, professors and students; all kinds of people walking on the street. Day by day, the Humans of East Lansing attracted more and more attentions.
As a coin has two sides, applauses are accompanied by criticisms. After Li came up with an idea “we are all eyes and ears”, they faced challenges.
“On Facebook we said if anyone had interesting stories wanted to share please did not be afraid to contact us. Then we received a long message from a follower, said what we did went against the spirit of Humans of New York.” said Li. “Our advisor Professor Bucqueroux also told us because Humans of New York had become a brand, we needed to pay attention to every decision we made, for we borrowed the ‘Humans of’。 Otherwise we would face more sharp reproach. ”
“It was all about directions.” said Wang. “Whatever you do, there are always so many attractions along your way to success. The most important thing and most difficult thing is to find a direction that you believe is right and stick to it no matter what it is.”
Skeptics did not hold them back, but pushed them advance bravely. On Oct. 5, Humans of East Lansing Chinese version was revamped. In order to amplify contents, except the Street Intercept, they add two new columns: Figure and Focus. Li invited his friends to join in. Yisi Fan and Chenxi Zheng are two of them. 
“I like writing and my major is creative writing.” said Fan, the reporter of Humans of East Lansing. “In the past, I am the only reader of my articles, but now I have more than 1,000 readers, they give me more feedbacks, so I can improve. And Humans of East Lansing also gives me more opportunities to interview interesting people and some of them are impossible for me to interview by myself.”
Zheng, a student journalism major at Michigan State University, however, has the different experience.
“I exchange to MSU only for one year. The members are so friendly that I quickly find the sense of belonging.” said Zheng. “Meanwhile, I talk with strangers, share our stories and get opinions from diverse perspectives, spreading ideas through my pictures. It gives me a strong sense of fulfillment.”
When talked to the future of Humans of East Lansing, Li said he finally wanted to come back to English, because Chinese students need to expose more to English.
“It is a beginning, begins with our memories and passes on our passions, generation by generation.” said Fan.
[大学1年级] 字数:3361 投稿日期:2015-2-26 20:24:00

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