Ahh … Buffalo.
Where downtown smells like Cheerios.
Where football fans piledrive their bodies into tables thirty minutes before watching players roll the dice with their health just to entertain us.
Where the zombie apocalypse is documented in great detail.
Yeah you heard me.
Buffalo has no living residents, at least that’s what you would assume browsing anything related to UB.
Think “A Quiet Place 2” except there’s no John Krasinksi, in fact, there’s nobody at all.
But who needs ‘em, right? At least we have white columns, bricks from the 1980s and decades-old infrastructure.
Want an up close view? You’re going to have to park 30 minutes away to set your eyes on this “brick” cold campus, that gets dozens of upvotes on /r/UBReddit every day.
The internet has brought us closer as a campus and it’s clear, UB buildings are so universally loved that the United Nations applauds them for solving world peace.
Since Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg came to campus, UB has been entirely absent of people, at least according to its social media channels. No students, no professors, no staff. Just buildings.
And boy, is UB obsessed with its buildings.
I jumped in on the Buffalo building wave myself, to see what all the hype was about. I posted a picture on Instagram (Bell Hall illuminated by a sunset, classic building bait) and sprinkled in some social seasoning (#UBuffalo, #Buffalo).
Voilà! I got 40 likes, including one by UB itself. Buffalo real estate company Cedarland Development Group even got in on the mix, commenting with a ‘clapping hands together’ emoji. Some of my friends, who have been absent from my DMs for months, came out of obscurity to tap like on my photo.
Clearly, UB buildings are more important than my Mother’s Day post and a heartfelt message to my brother.
If that means distancing myself from loved ones, sign me up!
I continued on my search for answers and decided the best way to find out if UB people loved buildings was through a game of Blue’s Clues. I took out my handy-dandy notebook and started my world-class investigation a la Ronan Farrow.
After a five-minute-long study, I spotted just five people-oriented photos of 50 overall on UB’s Instagram location tag. On Reddit, the top photos included “Clemens stairwell,” water sinking into a drain outside Capen, a leaf bug on a Student Union pole and two pictures of sunsets by Davis Hall.
One user called it a “brutalist paradise.”
Another called it “beautiful.”
I don’t care what you call it.
The people on this campus are much more interesting than a skinny insect.
Take. Pictures. Of. People, people!
The Spectrum recently launched a “Humans of UB” Instagram. This was an initiative started by a former Spectrum editor, Jordan Oscar. Today, you might find him freelancing for The Buffalo News, taking pictures at events.
Guess what he takes pictures of?
Because, like it or not, we’re not going to be here forever. I, like 30,000 other students, am also not here forever.
I’d love more pictures of students doing things across the board.
The Student Association seems to be spending $4.5 million wisely by actually engaging with students.
But the university, which currently has an over $7 million contract with a consulting firm for a marketing strategy, has got to move the camera over a bit and ask a student “You look like you’re enjoying this debt-causing higher education experience, want a picture on campus?”
It’s that easy.
As of late, /r/UBReddit seems to be getting the message. As the weeks have trailed on this semester, students have been posting all about Barefoot Longboard Guy, Boombox Guy and even Professor Dietrich Kuhlmann (honestly, guys, read your emails).
Love or hate these characters, students have been able to promote personhood, independent thought and intellectual authority through the means of the internet. We’ve been able to challenge the status quo, navigate free speech and celebrate the heroes around us.
I love buildings but, at the end of the day, UB community members can highlight the stories of our peers, just as The Spectrum does, all with a simple snapshot.
That’s what I hope to do in my life. I want to amplify our community’s voices, which is fairly hard to do with a brick.
Benjamin Blanchet is the senior engagement editor for The Spectrum. His words have been seen in The Buffalo News (Gusto) and The Sun newspapers of Western New York. Loves cryptoquip and double-doubles.