WU Words celebrates diversity

Shayndel Jones

Diversity is something Washburn University strives to expose everyone to, whether a student, faculty or staff member. Professor Sharon Sullivan highlights the diversity that appears on the campus in her crafting of the “WU Words Project.”

On Feb. 16-19, students, faculty and staff will come together in the Neese Grey Theatre to share their stories that highlight the hardships and successes in their lives.

Diversity is something that many people are afraid of because of opposing opinions or fear of being looked down upon.

This production was put together from several different monologues that various members of the Washburn community wrote. Sullivan put the monologues together to create one play that gives a voice to the actors and actresses as well as the audience.

Sullivan spent about a year collecting autobiographical stories based on topics ranging from personal identity to who they are and how they came to be at Washburn. Each person who submitted a writing is in the play. Some people wrote about the worst experiences of their childhoods, abuse or bullying, deaths in their families, depression, but also about their successes and their passions like why they wanted to come to Washburn and why they chose their major.

“I feel like some people may not be able to relate to everything but I would bet that there is something in the play that everyone would be able to relate to or can identify with,” Sullivan said. “I think one of the things that is so amazing to me is what some people have been through and they have still been successful.”

Overall, the message for the play is about who Washburn is as a community but also as individuals.

“Coming to Washburn, students felt like people really liked them being here and the faculty were connecting with the students,” said Sullivan.

Sullivan’s inspiration has always been to tell the stories that haven’t been said and what has been left out.

“My commitment was to have all of the voices heard, regardless if I agree,” Sullivan said. “I think it’s amazing how you can survive things that you don’t think you can in the moment; acknowledge them as part of who you are but also be able to move beyond that.”