IU Union Board will host a collaborative virtual event with the online storytelling platform Dear World this upcoming IU Day, April 21. This event will showcase the power and diversity of IU students by encouraging them to engage with one another and share stories that showcase their unique experiences as students at Indiana University.
"We wanted to do something like this last year," Anthony Morales, junior and co-director of social impact with IU Union Board. "Typically, it would be an in-person event with a reception, but because of COVID, we're doing a virtual experience instead."
Currently, Morales is searching for ambassadors to join him in leading and recruiting students for the event and is particularly interested in students involved with the Hudson and Holland Scholars Program, Groups Scholars Program, 21st Century Scholars Program, and the Kelley School to highlight the diversity of IU students and their stories.
"You don't have to be the best public speaker or have been in a leadership role before," Morales said. "As long as you are comfortable putting yourself out there, we're more than willing to help our ambassadors with anything they may feel nervous about."
Interested students can fill out an application form and, if selected to move on, will interview with Morales. Dear World offers a training module course providing the ambassadors with the skills needed to facilitate discussion, including public speaking and how to be receptive and respectful of the stories shared.
Groups will consist of approximately 20 participants. "We want the students to have a personal experience," Morales said. "With bigger Zoom sessions, it's easy for people to get lost or feel small. This way, everyone has a chance to participate and feel at ease."
Participants should feel comfortable with what they are sharing. "No one will force you to say anything you don't want to. In training, we had some people reveal personal stuff, but others mentioned buying their first car or something they were excited about," Morales said.
Morales views this not only as a storytelling experience but a meditative one as well, where students will be able to experience a safe space to tell stories and feel validated, affirmed, and engage with their peers.
The beginning and end of each session will be recorded and edited together into a short video celebrating both the Dear World program and the diverse stories of IU, but not the student stories.