Nov. 1, 2017
“It was a dark and stormy night…” “Once upon a time…” “A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…” Nope, those certainly don’t work. They might be some of the most famous openings to stories, but they’re not working for me today. It’s probably because I’m struggling to come up with any story to tell at all.
I wish I had some inspiring anecdote or interesting tale to weave. At the very least, I would settle for a humorous and embarrassing account to relay from the last week. Whether it’s the cold (um, it was snowing yesterday!) or maybe the Halloween candy sugar buzz wearing off, I’m definitely struggling to put words on the screen.
It’s not like I didn’t do anything last week. My daughter flew into town for a short visit and we crammed as much as we could into a few days. Cider mill, movie, shopping, favorite restaurants – we barely slowed down.
And, even though she’s grown, I found myself helping her make Halloween costumes for her and her boyfriend. (Provincial Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” and a taco…Taco Bell(e), get it? They ended up winning first prize at a New York pub quiz last night.) And, of course, we carved pumpkins. Some things never change. Which is totally fine by me – I love celebrating the holidays with my kid.
Given that she’s a creative soul and a trained actress, she’s a natural storyteller. Her time in the big city has given her tons of entertaining fodder. From strange auditions to kids licking poles on the subway, she’s got volumes of stories to tell. I keep telling her to put them all together along with some music and she’d have a hilarious one-woman show. Maybe someday.
Lorenzo Santavicca, a senior in MSU’s James Madison College and president of the undergraduate student government, recently learned about the power of storytelling. He was the only representative from Michigan to attend the Intercollegiate Diversity Congress where active listening and the impact of narrative, especially in the current digital age, were explored. Check out his STUDENT VIEW: A brighter future, one story at a time, to learn why asking the right questions and listening to others' stories are important, especially in polarizing times.
Adam Brown, professor of art, art history and design, says that because he’s asking the right questions, the universe starts revealing itself to him. He’s a super cool artist who blends science and art in interesting ways that tell stories differently. He listens to, and collaborates with, scientists and chemists and breaks downs stereotypes about seemingly opposite fields. Check out the short video in the FACULTY VOICE: Bridging art with science, to learn why he says MSU is a place where he can “challenge the norm.”
Challenging the norm, active listening, collaborating, being bold, asking questions, finding solutions, creating brighter futures – those are all part of MSU story. It’s why we’re ranked among the top universities in the world. It’s how Spartans do incredible things, like figuring out how to make biodegradable plastic from sunlight or creating technology to improve hearing aids. It’s why every week, fascinating stories about Spartans changing the world come across my desk. Every single day, there is a fascinating story that can be told about a Spartan somewhere. Spartans are discoverers, healers, heroes, entertainers, creators, entrepreneurs and world-changers. And that’s just in our first chapter.
Photo by Derrick L. Turner