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3rd annual “I Am U Thriving”

“I Am U Thriving” is an impactful visual storytelling campaign that amplifies the voices and experiences of individuals within our university campus community. Through the art of storytelling, this campaign illuminates narratives that shape our collective identity.

Your identity is everything that makes you you. It includes social constructs such as race, gender, and sexual orientation, as well as the roles we fulfill within our communities, such as being a friend, spouse, parent, educator, or advocate. Additionally, our life experiences, such as being a survivor or caregiver, contribute significantly to our identity. Other factors like religion, political views, interests, skills, goals, values, and aspirations further shape who we are. While each of us has a unique blend of identities that shape our lives, we share many commonalities with others in our university community. “I Am U Thriving” aims to highlight these experiences and connections to foster a sense of community and belonging among our campus stakeholders

“Storytelling, sharing who someone is, where they are from, and their lived experiences have always contributed to the evolution of society,” said Bryan Hubain, associate vice president of student development and inclusion. “That means that one of the most powerful things we can do as people is to share our story and speak the unknown into existence. A deeper understanding of identity helps us embrace empathy, build bridges that divide us as people, challenge stereotypes, and most importantly, build a culture of inclusion and respect despite our differences.”

Workshop & photoshoot

This year, Student Affairs, in collaboration with the School of Transform, invites the university community to participate in the “I Am U Thriving” workshop and photoshoot in April 3. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., participants can drop by the Union Ballroom East to engage in peer-facilitated workshops designed to delve into their identities and lived experiences, shaping their personal stories.

Following the workshop, participants can join a photoshoot where they’ll write words or phrases related to their identity on a whiteboard and have their photographs professionally taken to complement their narratives. These photos aim to provide a snapshot of each individual’s identity, fostering a sense of connection and belonging within the community.

Storytelling panel 

The first sentence under storytelling panel should read: “Subsequently, a storytelling panel discussion will take place on April 18 from 12 to 1:30 p.m. at Panel East in the Union. Selected participants from the storytelling photoshoot will take the stage to unveil their photos and share their narratives. This will be followed by a panel discussion exploring the significance of inclusive storytelling and its influence on nurturing a sense of belonging and fostering inclusivity within our campus community. Refreshments will be generously provided by the  A. Ray Olpin Union office.

“Learning from the experiences of others broadens your horizons, gets you outside of your comfort zone, and allows you to see the world through someone else’s perspective,” said Lori McDonald, vice president for Student Affairs. “It is within these experiences where personal growth and self-discovery happen, which is a crucial part of the college experience.”