Connections Formed Through Narratives: The Student Story Project

Sponsored by the Grace A. Tanner Center for Human Values, the Student Story Project is a yearly event created through collaboration between students to publish and share their personal stories that connect them with the community as they relate to the theme of the year. This year’s theme? Self-community and human values.

“We tell ourself stories in order to live” – Joan Didion

This opening line to Wednesday, March 11’s Student Story Project helped to set the mood as a dozen students prepared to share some of their most personal stories with the room of spectators.

Jessica Stagg, a senior communication major and Tanner Center intern, described the goals of the project and how it strives to bring the community together.

“The goal is to help students realize that they aren’t alone in their struggles by sharing their personal stories with each other,” said Stagg. “Everybody has a story, and everybody has something important to tell that we can all relate to.”

This year, the project was overseen by Michelle Lambert, an administrative coordinator for the Tanner Center. The presentation featured twelve students and faculty who shared their individual stories ranging from mental health to sexual identity.

One story was shared by Abigail Geddes titled “A Field Trip to Prison,” in which she described her experiences with the Hustle 2.0 Program, which aims to provide inmates with the necessary experience to transfer their more illicit activities and behaviors into successful business skills through rehabilitation.

“That day in prison, we learned about humanity,” said Geddes. “Those nine hours in prison were one of the most impactful nine hours of my life.”

This year’s presentation is the second year for the project, with last year’s presentations overseen by former communication professor Gavin Feller.

The Tanner Center was founded in 1980 by the O.C. Tanner Foundation, and was named after the wife of the company’s founder, Obert C. Tanner. The Tanner Center is located at special collections in the garden level of the library and is run by Dr. Danielle Dubrasky.

Next year’s theme will be focused on building cultures of meaning. To participate, go to the Student Story Project’s website and submit your story along with your contact information.

For further questions regarding future Tanner Center events, including their participation at Lunch on the Main on March 25, be sure to contact them at


Story by: Jeff Mullins
Photos courtesy of Jeff Mullins