StoryTeller– A New Semester of Head-Start

StoryTeller is a brand new student organization that became official in March, 2018. Our mission is to promote interconnectivity and communication on campus by sharing unique stories of everyday individuals through short videos. At the initial foundational stage of the organization, human resources are essential to bring the projects we value on track, as well as to developing less mature ideas, bringing in more connections and inspirations and gathering a community of people sharing interests. Therefore, StoryTeller had the BLI Small Grant help recruitment events.

For the StoryTeller members as well as executives, it took some effort to walk through recruitment essentials and put together the materials. Designing a poster was not too difficult, but the logistics including where and when to print, adapting the design to different poster styles offered, budgeting and coordinating schedules within the team was a lot of confusion and going back and forth with the progress. Without a skilled and familiar member able to take responsibility of the whole process, the executives explored various options and supported each other during. We took it as valuable experience for similar needs in the future, and believe that without difficulties would not come fluency and mastery.

As a group the members reviewed our mission together. At the events (Northfest and Festifall), members went into roles where they can shine, while helping peers prepare and step up to do the difficult attention grabbers and pitching. When we encountered challenges–at Festifall our table was at a location with little flow–we explored options (such as moving the table) and took on challenges to overcome (going out in the crowd and distributing flyers).

Beyond the surprise and thrill of being able to attract interest and get sign-ups, we are so glad that with the grant, we had the practical opportunity to truly work as a team and present that image to the community -helping each other with difficulties, task delegation, encouraging each other to take challenges, forgiving of mistakes and recognizing achievements. With this mindset we are planning to restructure the organization into small project teams, as well as developing new project directions such as new film techniques, podcast and filmathon.

We are excited about a new year of new stories.

By: Li Wang

Challenging Narratives and Conflict Resolution

Our dialogue event, Challenging Narratives and Conflict Resolution, took place on the
night of December 1st , 2017. A group of students from that summer’s GIEU: Israel-Palestine trip was inspired by our experiences there, the people we met and the stories we heard. We decided to share this new knowledge with the university community by creating a space for our Israeli and Palestinian guides to speak on the topic of the conflict and their personal experiences of it.

Along the process of planning, organizing, and executing this event, the biggest challenge we faced was that we had some of our main sources of support, through advertising, back out. They perceived the event as too controversial and polarizing considering the campus climate regarding divestment. There were moments when we really felt alone in the process, but luckily our team had very strong planning and organizational skills, and we were able to reach out to other sources for advertising support.

Through this event, our goals were to expose students from various backgrounds at the University of Michigan to global issues that they may not be familiar with. We hoped to educate them on the complexity of the Arab-Israeli conflict by emphasizing the importance of nuanced perspectives and multiple narratives.

By: Lisa Garcia