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ASU humanities institute staff develop Student Stories Project


Notebook on top of packing envelopes with doodles in the background

The first batch of Student Stories Project notebooks shipped this week. Photo and graphic courtesy Lauren Whitby.

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December 10, 2020

As the year 2020 comes to a close, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact student learning and life, and many students are finding it increasingly difficult to press forward in the “new normal.”

To help students feel a sense of community and support in a safe, virtual space, staff at Arizona State University's Institute for Humanities Research have developed the Student Stories Project

“The ‘new normal’ has changed the university experience for students,” said Barbara Dente, Institute for Humanities Research business operations specialist. 

“This project is meant to help students take pen to paper, in a traditional sense, and explore their thoughts on topics that are affecting them as students and individuals in today’s world. They then have a global platform to share their thoughts and ideas with their fellow ASU students.” 

Here’s how the project works:

• Starting Dec. 15, the Institute for Humanities Research will provide daily prompts on the project webpage to inspire students to write, draw or create notebook entries with any medium they choose. 

• Students who want to participate can register online to receive a free project notebook to record their responses.

• Students are not obligated to follow every prompt and can participate at any level they choose. If they post a picture of their entry with the hashtag #StudentStoriesASU on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, they will be entered to win giveaways that will be distributed by the Institute for Humanities Research. 

“One thing that is really challenging for students right now is that they can’t interact with friends and classmates like they used to,” said Lauren Whitby, marketing and communications specialist senior at the Institute for Humanities Research.

“We’re hoping that the project hashtag will help students stay in touch and be inspired by fellow students’ writing and drawings.”

Prompts will run through Feb. 15. Free project notebooks are limited, but anyone can participate by following the prompts on the project webpage and posting pictures of their entries.

Though the Institute for Humanities Research traditionally has worked primarily with faculty and graduate students, the institute felt a responsibility to support all students during the trying months ahead.

“This is an opportunity for the IHR to show up for students every day over the winter break and into the new year, to listen to their stories, and to learn from their experiences,” said Celina Osuna, Institute for Humanities Research coordinator and Desert Humanities assistant director.

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