Emma Lamy ’18 and Steven Leone ’18

Hometowns: Albany, N.Y. and Danbury, Conn.

Majors: Geological Oceanography and Marketing

Inspired by a popular social media series, the Humans of New York, Emma Lamy and Steven Leone launched their URI-centric riff on the phenomenon last year.

“Why not here?” thought Emma while walking to class. She immediately reached out to Steven—the two like-minded, curious types had connected their very first week at URI. Humans of URI launched that very day.

Now more than 3,000 combined followers on Facebook and Instagram enjoy the photos and first-person stories. “Here at URI we have a very large campus, but we can make people feel more connected to each other,” the pair explains. “We aim to celebrate differences in a relatable way.” Judging by the comments and shares, it’s working. Emma recounts how a student messaged her after reading a post had eased her mind. “She felt, hey, I’m not so different.”

Emma and Steven love approaching people. “Why are you doing that? What’s something that’s important to you?” They record and distill the conversation, until they have a post that completely embodies the subject. “We always find something,” says Steven.

Earlier it was more random, but they’re continuing to refine and focus it. They aim to post stories every other day. “Having a photographer has made a big difference,” Emma says of new team member, public relations major Angelina LaCarrubba ’18 who photographs subjects at their favorite campus spot. Recent improvements also include a new cover design by film major Ryan Mercatante ’18.

Their take now on the URI campus community? “Accepting, diverse.”

Surprises? “How deep everyone is —and unique, even though people never think they’re interesting.”

Added benefits? “ A great real-world experience. Everyone has been so willing to help us.”

What’s ahead for these humans?  “We hope it continues to grow and that more and more people get their stories shared. We both have a lot of ideas and we love what we do,” says Emma and Steven. “We want this to succeed us when we move on.”

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Denise Coppa is committed to ensuring that underserved communities receive the health care they need. She supervises nurse practitioner students working at the Rhode Island Free Clinic, which serves medically uninsured patients, as well as those working at the Teens With Tots Clinic at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, where adolescent parents and their children receive primary care.