Who is that @coastalcarolina-student?by Mona Prufer
If you have an Instagram account, you might have wondered, “Who is this @coastalcarolinastudent who’s taking the distinctive photos of Coastal Carolina University’s campus and events and posting them with a little dose of CCU history at the same time?"
It’s Mark Jessup, a Conway native who graduated this past May from CCU, summa cum laude, with a bachelor’s degree in history. He entered the Master of Arts in Teaching program this summer so that he can ultimately teach high school social studies and/or history.
Jessup started out sending tweets on Twitter in an effort to raise school spirit. “I never joined SCREAM or anything, but I’m a fan, and I like to promote Coastal,” says the social media user with 580 followers who would like to get to 600. From there, he moved on to Instagram, whose platform suited him better. Plus, he gets more words to say what he needs to say.
“I love our campus and have lived here in Conway my whole life,” says Jessup. “I wanted to show off the campus while telling some history. CCU has exploded so quickly, I kind of wanted to get it all out there.”
Jessup’s photos of campus and events are unique and almost ethereal. While photography is not an obsession or even a hobby for him, he enjoys taking pictures with his Iphone 4S (he looks forward to upgrading to 5S in September) and letting his followers know the history of CINO Day or the Student Center or that CCU started out as a small local school that has grown exponentially.
Some of his more notable posts include: a collage of CINO Day pictures with some history of the event, a moody shot of campus around the HTC Center after the recent hail storm and an atmospheric shot of a night event in Blanton Park with the Singleton building illuminated and more.
While photography is fun, Jessup’s real passion is history, an interest that was sparked in high school and blossomed during his two years at CCU (he was a transfer student from HGTC). He was inspired by his professors in the Department of History, especially professor John Navin, who encouraged him to present his research paper at a conference, which he did and then repeated at the Celebration of Inquiry earlier this year.
He was also motivated by his interest in CCU’s history to read professor Roy Talbert Jr.’s book “Coastal Carolina University: The First 50 Years.”
“I figured most people wouldn’t take the time to read all of it, so I try to share little interesting nuggets with them to help them learn about Coastal,” says Jessup.
His followers, who are mostly alumni and prospective students (like CCU18, the incoming freshmen) and their parents, are appreciative of the beautiful pictures of campus. And, of course, of the invaluable visual history lesson.