Students participate in StoryCorps Great Thanksgiving Listen

Students interview loved ones to contribute to the collection of human experiences in the Library of Congress

During the week before Thanksgiving, freshmen  Megan Kixmille and Carly Andersen practice with the StoryCorps app in preparation for interviewing their loved ones.

Debra Klevens

During the week before Thanksgiving, freshmen Megan Kixmille and Carly Andersen practice with the StoryCorps app in preparation for interviewing their loved ones.

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For homework over Thanksgiving break, journalism students took part in a worldwide event:  The Great Thanksgiving Listen. Dave Isay, founder of the organization StoryCorps, started the initiative in  to record and collect stories from past generations.

“I thought it was a really good idea and that it had the potential to show how diverse America is and show kids all the cool things that older people–like their parents and their grandparents–have done and allow them to appreciate history more,” junior Lance Griffith said.

The StoryCorps app uploads the digital file of completed interviews to the Library of Congress, in order to preserve and organize the stories for future generations to easily find and access.

“I thought that it was just a great opportunity to really get our parents to tell us things about their lives that they never would have told us before, give us advice that we should follow,” junior Brett Quicksilver said.

The app promotes meaningful conversations with older family members by selecting and following up with interview questions about family history.

“I ended up interviewing my dad; I really asked him a lot about his childhood, how he was brought up and what made him who he is. After that, I asked him [about] the worst things that ever happened to him. I lost my mom at the age of nine, so we got on that topic,” Quicksilver said. “I started asking him what it was that he missed most about having her around, and it was nice when he said he missed the caring, open heart that she had.”

StoryCorps initiative, in part, is to help build connections between people in the hope of creating a more compassionate world.

“I interviewed my mom. It started off kind of boring, just talking about things, but then we got into this conversation about her family values and how she was raised,” freshman Maddie Hoffmann said. “Her parents raised her to believe that she could do anything her brothers could, and that women are equal to men. Feminism is really important to her, but she didn’t realize that until she got out into the world because she was raised [as an] equal. So now she is wanting to join in the fight.”

Through these interviews, students can supersede StoryCorps initiative and learn what their parents or grandparents hope for their future.

“Because of [StoryCorps], I’ve learned that my dad is just like every other person, the small stuff gets to him no matter how many times he tells himself that he can’t let it,” Quicksilver said. “Of course he gets mad, he gets angry but there are times that he realizes he is being silly and it is good to hear your father tell you why he does the things that he does for you. He told me that he has high hopes for me and that everything he says is just an effort to have me reach my full potential.”

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