Several colleges across the country have student-run Instagram accounts — unaffiliated with the university — that document life and activity on campus. Some colleges have accounts that post submissions of students wanting to find a person they met briefly, and some colleges have accounts that post pictures of squirrels. JMU has these and more, including comical accounts that rate chairs, stairs and french fries around campus.
These seven JMU-themed Instagram accounts are sure to encourage, uplift and entertain students.
The ever-popular @jmu_squirrels Instagram account shares pictures of squirrels around campus. It accepts submissions from followers, who send in photos and videos of any squirrels they may come across at JMU. The account posts its pictures with a positive or funny caption that can brighten the day of those who read it.
One photo posted on Feb. 10 that received 182 likes is captioned, "It's Monday. It's yucky outside. But this JMU Squirrel doesn't think you are yucky so it can be a great day." The account provides inspiration, support and positivity to its large base of 1,449 followers. @jmu_squirrels is sure to entertain any student who’s taking a study break or needs motivation.
The growing @jmu_chairs account rates chairs in buildings all over campus based on instinct. Gavin Wilkerson, a freshman business management major, and Dylan Marti, a freshman intelligence analysis major, first posted on Oct. 21. The co-owners post pictures of chairs on campus with funny captions that usually come with a rating of the chair on a 10-point scale.
The pair said they came up with the idea for this account when they were exploring Duke Hall in their first days at JMU and noticed the varieties of chairs in a single room. They said they decided to start the account for fun, and it grew from there.
“There’s really not a system. It's sort of a gut feeling,” Marti said. “If I sit down in a chair, and I'm just like, ‘Hm, this is gross,’ I know it’s gonna be a bad one. But, I try to back it up with something like, ‘How comfy is this? Could I write something while I’m in this chair?’
Marti said his favorite part of running the account is receiving submissions from followers. He said that Tim Miller, JMU’s vice president for student affairs, follows the account, actively comments on posts and has submitted chairs to the account to be rated. Students looking to get a good laugh won’t be disappointed by @jmu_chairs.
Bird scooters can be seen zipping throughout campus every day. The owner of @jmuscoots posts pictures of these scooters found in random places outside such as parking garages, sidewalks and intersections.
The photos are always posted with hilariously creative captions. One of its most popular posts captures a picture of two different kinds of scooters facing each other on the Quad. It’s captioned, "Rollio and Scootliet, a bird and a veoride, constantly torn apart by their feuding families, sneak a moment together on the quad. True love exists, even for scoots." The account then continued this saga with posts following the story of “Rollio and Scootliet.” Dukes who are looking for creative pictures and hysterical captions to share with their friends should consider searching @jmuscoots.
Chick-fil-A’s waffle fries are often praised across the country, and one student took it upon himself to review the french fries from different on-campus locations of the fast food restaurant. Josh Banton, a freshman statistics major, made the account on Sept. 26. Banton said he started the account because he loved Chick-fil-A fries. After running the account for several months, Banton said it’s become difficult to go to Chick-fil-A often, so he’s considering accepting submissions and reviews from followers.
The review account rates Chick-fil-A fries on a 10-point scale from different locations at JMU based on freshness, flavor, temperature and saltiness. Based on these qualities and the friendships he’s made with the employees who work there, Banton said his go-to place for Chick-fil-A fries on campus is D-Hub.
Banton has also created his own community with the account. He said he’s become friends with the owners of @jmumissedconnections and @jmu_dogs and with the people he’s come to know throughout his many visits to Chick-fil-A.
“It got to the point where I went enough where they knew my name,” Banton said.
For those who love Chick-fil-A fries, @jmuchickfilafryreview is both an amusing and informative account to follow. Students can rate fries, connect with others and discover the best parts of each Chick-fil-A location on campus.
Similar to the accounts that review chairs and fries at JMU, @jmu_stairs posts photos of stairs around campus, also rating them on a 10-point scale. Though it just recently started on Jan. 22, the account is growing quickly, and has gained almost 200 followers in just over a month.
By following this account, students can discover hidden gems and perhaps find sections of campus they don’t usually see. The account rates stairs based on function, practicality, difficulty and aesthetic.
It’s also recently added a fitness rating for students looking for a workout. The owner posted the infamously tall stairs leading from Godwin Transit Center to D-Hall, captioning the photos, "Bridgeforth Adjacent Stairs, AKA The Stairway From Hell. Mount Everest is practice compared to these stairs. Just imagine walking up these stairs when it's cold, wet and freezing at 8am. Or, I bet it's like climbing to the sun during the summer." The account gave the stairs a general rating of -9/10 and a fitness rating of 9/10.
Account owner Sophia Barrick, a sophomore nursing major, started the @jmu_skies on Dec. 4. Barrick said she’s always loved taking pictures of the sky and found that no other university had sky accounts, so she started her own.
Barrick posts on the account at least once a day. It features skies from different locations around campus and at different times of day, from sunrise to sunset. The posts include positive captions with the location, submitter and what Barrick loves about the picture. She said her favorite part of running the account is receiving submissions from followers. She said people were proud of the photos they took.
“Seeing them happy about it makes me happy, and so, I just really like spreading positivity,” Barrick said. “’Cause even though it’s just, like, the sky, when someone takes a picture, it’s like, ‘Oh, I thought this was really pretty, and I liked it,’ and I’m like, ‘I’m so glad you liked it, ‘cause, like, I love it, too.’”
The JMU community is known for being kind and welcoming to all. With many Dukes holding doors open for others, students may come across someone in passing that they’d like to meet or befriend. To attempt to find these people or simply call attention to an act of kindness, students can submit their stories to @jmumissedconnections.
This account anonymously posts the direct messages they receive from their substantial follower base of over 1,600. The community formed by this account likes to spread the love, and followers can submit any kind of message. Whether they saw someone attractive on the ICS bus or want to befriend that person in class they’re too shy to talk to, they can send in their story in hopes of connecting with others. Students can also choose whether to remain anonymous or include their personal Instagram account.
Some students simply send in encouragement for others to see. One post, which is a screenshotted direct message, says, "To you, the one reading this, you're loved as HECK and should never doubt that. Take things one day at a time, you've got this[.]"
Those who want to meet new friends or receive or share a positive message should look to @jmumissedconnections and submit their stories to become part of a caring community.
Contact Charlotte Matherly at email@example.com. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.