The DiMenna-Nyselius Library and Office of Student Diversity & Multicultural Affairs organized the second annual event, Stags Share Stories: Conversations That Connect Us. It took place during campus First Gen Week programming, on November 8th at the Library, with an evening Zoom modality. 90 Stags attended and chose from a "catalog" of 13 different "Storytellers" to speak with. Storytellers were from both the North Benson and the new Bellarmine campus and included faculty, librarians, staff, undergraduate students, graduate students, and alumni.
View the list of in-person Storytellers here
View the list of virtual Storytellers here
What is Stags Share Stories? It's a conversation. "Storytellers" (students, faculty, staff, alumni, community) volunteer to share their personal experiences, identities, and perspectives on topics ranging from race, class, religion, mental health, disability, and so on. Attendees get to engage in a conversation with a Storyteller of their choice. They ask questions and are often prompted by the Storyteller to share their own viewpoints and experiences too.
Stags Share Stories transcends boundaries of a typical event, offering an opportunity to actively participate in the diverse narratives of our community. It is an inclusive celebration for Stags to connect with each other to promote a culture of understanding, empathy, and appreciation of our diverse community, where deep and challenging conversations are welcomed, respected, and valued.
Selected quotes shared after the event by the Storytellers:
- "Sharing my story did make me feel more part of the larger community. The listeners were very respectful and attentive. They also shared their experiences."
- "I feel like a different person after being able to talk about myself. It is not something I am used to but I am glad I got to do it. My most important take away is being empowered by feeling like I got peoples gears turning. I really tried to emphasize the idea of the students not allowing people to label them and place them into a box based on their outward demographics."
- "I think that as I did more storytelling to each group, I was able to think deeply about why I acted the way I did during my struggles."
- "I think my most important takeaway is that stereotypes show up in a ton of places and the best way to combat them is listening to other people's stories."
Selected quotes from some of the attendees:
- "The conversation really helped in continuing to understand the challenges that other underrepresented groups face, and allowed me to see it from other perspective."
- "I felt like it was truly a learning experience and I'm leaving with an open mind and open heart."
- "The conversation allowed me to understand the privileges my identity offers me existing in this world. I found it easy to connect with the other identities I encountered today. My most important takeaway is the need for my participation in more events like this so I can better become an ally against the injustices in this world."
- "It made realize we are more than our labels."
- "I became even more aware of the aspects of my identity and background and experiences that have granted me privileges in life. One of the most important takeaways is that I should interact with people I am unfamiliar with more frequently."
- "It showed me that although we do not talk about these issues much, racism sexism and homophobia are issues in our society. I found it easier to connect after hearing the speakers story. My most important takeaway was to stand up for what I feel is right and to protect individuals around me."
- "It made me understand who I am and who I want to be."
- "It made me more self aware of myself and my actions. Yes it made me feel like it is much easier to connect with people. The most important takeaway is that I realized that I'm not alone and other people struggle at times too."
- "The conversation influenced my own perception of my social identity specifically at Fairfield and as a college student because it caused me to think more about my identity. I do not often spend time reflecting on my own identity in this way."
- "[It's] important to listen to others - we all have something to share, and we might find something in common if we listen."
Stags Share Stories is organized by the DiMenna-Nyselius Library and Office of Student Diversity & Multicultural Affairs with committee representation from: Campus Ministry, Center for Social Impact; Counseling & Psychological Services, Murphy Center for Ignatian Spirituality, Office of Student Engagement, Residence Life, and faculty from Dolan School of Business and College of Arts & Sciences. Stags Share Stories is inspired by our prior Human Library events (held annually from 2016-2021) and our shared values as a Jesuit Catholic institution which includes a commitment to encounter and dialogue as well as journeying together into a hope-filled future.