Parent Newsletter

From the Desk of the Provost: December 2015

Dear IU families,

In early November, 10 IU students took the stage in the beautiful Wells-Metz Theatre. One by one, each shared a well-crafted, honest and personal story, in five concise minutes, as part of an exciting and wide-ranging “story slam” that brought together people from all across the Bloomington community.

The story topics were heartbreaking – one student had to decide whether to return to school just weeks after her mother’s death; thought-provoking – a junior high class election was complicated by bullying; and funny – a Dr. Who marathon led to a late-night breakup with vegetarianism.

The 10 storytellers were randomly selected that evening from a group of 50 students who had taken part in two days of free workshops held in our Grunwald Gallery of Art and led by storytelling professionals from “The Moth Radio Hour,” a nationally broadcast program from the Public Radio Exchange. Moth staff members worked with the student participants individually and in small groups, helping the students to focus their delivery and shape their real-life experiences into interesting, concise, well-timed stories.

The students who took part in this workshop came from a diversity of backgrounds and schools – in fact, all but one school on campus was represented, and graduate students worked as peers alongside undergraduates. The participants formed tight bonds over the two days, as they shared honest stories about moments that shaped their lives. I know there are thousands of students across campus who want to share their own stories, and they will get the chance to do so in the near future. Many of the students who took part in this workshop are in the process of forming an official student group open to any student on campus who wants to practice the art of storytelling—a universal human experience that speaks to our common hopes, fears, joys, and loves.