Nestled in a world of selfies and viral videos lies an account that seeks to show what being a staff member at Ball State is really like.

Facesbehindbsu, an Instagram account featuring photos and videos of Ball State staff members, was originally created by Savonne Pearson, a junior telecommunications major.

The account currently displays interviews with four of Ball State’s staff members — a cashier, custodian, facilities attendant and a food preparer. 

“I work in Dining Services so I’ve noticed a lot of the students don’t treat the staff the way they should be treated. They kind of just disregard them and treat them like service people,” Pearson said. “So I thought if I created a way that maybe students could see that these staff members are also people just like them, they could look at them, and they’re not just service to you.” 

Pearson released the first episode in March after acquiring the necessary equipment and enlisting the help of Britney Kendrick. 

Once Pearson found an employee to highlight, she began the interviewing process.

“They were kind of shocked. Cause they were kind of like, ‘Umm, so you want to get to know more about me?’ Because they are not used to that,” Pearson said. “They’re used to being kind of ignored, in a way. They all expressed to me that they feel more appreciated from doing it.” 

After doing a three rounds of the interviews, Pearson created an episode. 

The episodes are then published to the Instagram account in three parts. The first is a photo that captures the staff member and a short bio about where they work or their home life. Then, the videos, which are broken into two or three-part series, are posted.

So far, staff members Ty Rucker, food services cashier at Laffolette Square; Cheryl Simpkins, a worker at Johnson Hall B; Wallace Byrd, a worker at Worthen Arena; and Takea Phillips, a worker in LaFollette have been featured. 

Rucker’s episode begins with her explaining what it is like to work in Dining Services.

“I love the student’s here, but sometimes I wish that they can respect us. You know we say hi, you know, and they walk by like you’re nobody,” Rucker said. “It’s like, I’m the same age as you, like, I’m 25. Like, I’m down to turn up, you know what I mean? I’m not old. But still have some type of respect.” 

Wallace — also known as “the man” — is a, facilities attendant at Worthen Arena. In part two of  his episode, he explained the role he found in students’ lives.

“I sort of become a surrogate father to a lot of the kids I’ve seen come through Ball State in the years I have been here,” Wallace said. “I’m just happy to be able to give somebody some life advice. I want kids to know there are no elevators to success, so take the stairs.” 

After posting the episodes, Pearson has received a large amount of support. 

“We’ve got a lot of positive reinforcement. We’ve got messages. We just get a lot of [direct messages] saying, ‘Hey we love what you’re doing, this is great,’” Pearson said. “I did hear from Ty, one of our first subjects, that students would now email their managers, and tell them how great they are and how appreciative they are of them as staff. It’s just been a lot of positive feedback.”

With the fall semester approaching, Pearson is hoping to expand her account. Next fall, she will be transforming her team of two into a team of six in order to produce one episode per week during the semester. 

Additionally, Pearson said she would like to allow students to choose which employees they would like to see featured. 

Contact Pauleina Brunnemer with comments at or on Twitter @pauleina15