Project showcases RU's diverse student body


What do you see yourself doing in the next five years? What do you love most about RU? What is the most embarrassing thing that has happened to you? Do you prefer ham or turkey?

From serious to funny, these questions and dozens more were asked to Radford University students as part of the "100 Faces of RU" project.

During the fall semester, 100 students were stopped on campus at random and asked to be photographed. The student who had his or her portrait taken created a question for the next student to answer.

The creative conversation starter was orchestrated by RU's Web Strategy and Interactive Media department. Multimedia Producer Jaslyn Gilbert was inspired by Jeremy Cowart, a motivational speaker for photographers, who she saw speak at a conference.

Cowart launched a similar project called PortraitQA, and Gilbert felt it was something that could be easily mimicked at RU.

"I am always looking for new ways to showcase our students and increase social media engagement through multimedia," Gilbert explained. "It was a great opportunity to visually highlight how diverse and unique our student body is at Radford University."

Gilbert and student intern Chris Henry combed campus for participants, most of whom seemed very interested in the project and eager to take part.

Sidney Green, a sophomore student from Aldie, Virginia, is pictured among 99 other RU students, ranging in race, grade level and major.

"At Radford, every student is more than just an ID number, and this project shows a small portion of our student body and how unique each individual is to our campus," Green said.

Green is a former Quest orientation assistant, so when she was asked about her favorite RU experience thus far, her answer wasn't from reach.

"Stepping into leadership positions," Green responded.

Sharing such informative, fun and thoughtful dialogue is what the project intended, Gilbert said.

"I hoped that students would see this as an opportunity to reach out to their fellow classmates – you never know who you might meet along the way," Gilbert said.

Henry, who took 50 of the portraits, then built the "100 Faces of RU" website, with the guidance from Web Strategy and Interactive Media staff.

Check out the creative campaign online.

Feb 10, 2015