Loyola students shared their personal stories on campus on Tuesday (Aug. 22) in the Danna Center through Dear World, an internationally recognized storytelling project that encompasses portraits and photographs. Students were able to write meaningful messages on their bodies to communicate their messages through the medium.
Charlotte Coughlin, graphic design sophomore, wrote “2 Continents, 1 Bike” on herself. She explained that after biking across both North America and Europe, it is important to take care of yourself.
“Many Americans don’t realize how fortunate they are to have healthy options and plenty of clean water,” Coughlin said.
Elizabeth Keating, co-director of student involvement, helped direct the event and offered students advice.
“It is totally life-changing to see all of the students open up with their experiences and be vulnerable,” Keating said.
For Keating, the event was all about looking for unique stories and embracing personal stories even if not everyone can understand what the words mean. For example, Elizabeth said that the story she would tell is “Together we watch the sunrise.” To many, this is just a simple sentence, but to Elizabeth, it is part of her story.
The students who have previously chosen to write stories on their body inspired other students to step up and share. Criminal justice sophomore Brenna Gilliam was inspired and decided to write out her own story. She wrote “Girls can not do STEM” as her way to resist those who hold that view.
“We live in a world where you can do whatever you want, and my gender does not stop me from doing what I want to do,” Gillman said.
For Keating, the photo reveal and storytelling session after all of the photographs were taken was the most rewarding part of the experience.
“I’m really excited to see everything come together as a collective Loyola story and experience how diverse Loyola really is.”
Later that evening, participants gathered in Roussel Hall to view the final photos and share the stories behind them.