For most WVU students, taking photos around campus is nothing new, but freshman exercise physiology student, Josh Goddard, is putting a new spin on his campus photoshoots.
Instead of posing and smiling in all the typical spots, Goddard has been laying on the ground and pretending to be dead and posting them on his Instagram account @deadguy_wvu.
“People often take tourist pictures, and they're standing or doing something like smiling. I don't want to do that,” he said. “If I go somewhere, I want to just lay down on the ground like I’m dead.”
Goddard has been photographed dead around Lincoln Hall, on the Evansdale basketball courts and even on the PRT.
“It's a huge collaboration,” Goddard explained. “A bunch of people in Lincoln Hall are really invested in it. Different people like to take photos.
But the joke that started in a common room at Lincoln Hall began to gain traction after Goddard scored a unique photo lying dead under the foot of University President E. Gordon Gee. This photo had been a goal of Goddard’s from the beginning.
As of publication, Goddard’s Instagram account had 666 followers and the most like photo was Goddard’s photo with Gee at 378 likes. Goddard’s photo with Gee was also posted on the well-known account @wvuafterdark.
Goddard said that he was surprised at how willing Gee was to participate in the photo.
“I did not tell him to step on my back. He actually did that himself,” Goddard said. “The exact scenario that I had envisioned for weeks up to this point, right because dead guy had been going on for a few weeks. He stands over me decides to put his foot on my back and just has the time of his life.”
Goddard’s new challenge, however, is topping the incredibly successful post with Gee.
“I've hit the Gee benchmark. How do I keep those people interested? And how do I keep engagement a thing?” Goddard said.
Goddard has continued to post photos in different areas of campus and asking his friends and followers where they’d like to see him go next.
“The thing that's kept it going is their interest. And the fact that people have ideas for other photos they want to see,” he said.
Since the creation of @deadguy_wvu similar Instagram accounts have been started at The University of Kentucky, Virginia Tech and West Virginia State University.
Goddard hopes the trend will continue to spread to other colleges and eventually become the next Barstool.
“If we can get other people at other colleges to do dead guy posts in places that are notable on their campuses, like their campus presidents or in their version of the Mountainlair, right, little landmarks, if we can get that it has the possibility to be another barstool or something like that. Like, it's a far-fetched dream but we have four years to make it happen.”