Washburn students become storytellers

Diversity does matter. Washburn students do come from different backgrounds and some are willing to share their stories.

On March 24, “Other Stories: An Evening of Storytelling with Washburn Students” will come to Mabee Library at 7 p.m.

The storytelling session will include stories from students with many experiences different from the status quo at WU. These students will tell their stories of being homosexual, homeless, atheist, Asian American, African American, Latino and Arab-Muslim. The students are both traditional and non-traditional students as well as a mixture of male and female. This is a storytelling event and there has been a recent movement for stories to be told public in a public setting with a theme attached to the event, said Sarah Smarsh, assistant English professor and chair of the Diversity Initiative Coordinating Committee.

“Obviously, the theme is diversity. Students will tell stories of their life so we can get perspective. It’s not theatrical, it’s not memorizing pieces or lines, but it’s like telling a story to friends. It will be a rare experience,” said Smarsh.

Smarsh said that the event is part of a venture from the committee. She said that when people talk about diversity, they typically talk in an abstract manner, like diversity is something they should strive for. This event should show that diversity is something that people already have, but may not be aware of.

The Diversity Initiative Coordinating Committee put together the group of seven students who will be telling their stories to the community. For most of the students, it is their first time telling their stories in public. They don’t have a lot of experience in public speaking, said Smarsh.

Cameron Wrightsman, senior, was nominated by his English professor to be one of the story tellers. Wrightsman will tell the story of what it is like to be an atheist.

“Atheists are often left out of the discussion of diversity,” said Wrightsman.

This is the second year the committee has put on a seminar, but this is the first year that they have ever done a storytelling event.

“I think it will be a good experience to get to know who’s on campus and the different minorities in general,” said Wrightsman.