The Geneseo Voices Project, just over a year old, offers a simple yet essential service for the campus: It provides a platform through which members of the community can tell their stories, whatever the stories may be.
The stories that provide the foundation of the Voices Project are archived on the Geneseo website. They tell of the community's spectacularly varied background and include stories of a student dealing with the challenge of Asperger's syndrome, a faculty member growing up Jewish in the former Soviet Union and an anonymous voice that relates her struggles with depression and early-onset bipolar disorder.
Fatima Rodriguez Johnson, coordinator of Multicultural Programs and Services in the Center for Community, currently heads the Voices Project. The project, she said, "is an opportunity to engage in exploring our similarities and differences. There is so much we can learn from one another and this is the way to start the journey." Johnson has shared her own story on the Voices homepage.
Some of the stories shared in the project have also been used as teaching tools by Geneseo professors, Johnson said. The stories of Voices have been used to engage students and induce critical thought in both the communication and sociology departments.
Johnson strongly encourages students to participate in the Voices Project no matter what their stories are. Anonymity is an option, and sharing a story helps others to understand the vast range of experience that collect in this small rural college. Relating our own stories can also help us to better grasp and make sense of our past experiences.
Students interested in sharing their own life stories should contact Johnson or Carey Backman, associate director of the College Union & Activities.