July 12, 2018
Dear Members of the Trinity College Community,
I write to share news of an exciting opportunity coming to campus this fall and to invite you to participate. Following our successful and wide-ranging Bridging Divides initiative last year, we’re thrilled to announce that StoryCorps, the national nonprofit that has collected and archived more than 75,000 interviews since 2003 and given us award-winning broadcasts on NPR’s Morning Edition, is bringing its new project to Trinity!
Called One Small Step, the initiative invites people with different political viewpoints to record StoryCorps conversations with each other. The aim is to help people get past political differences to better understand each other and remember our common humanity. When we learned of the project several months ago, we asked StoryCorps to bring it to Trinity, given the importance of this work and the opportunity we know exists here and in our surrounding community to engage across deep differences. We are delighted that StoryCorps has chosen Trinity as one of its early partners in the One Small Step initiative.
One Small Step is supported by a $1 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. Interviews will follow the StoryCorps format—two people, 40 minutes, and a facilitator to help guide the conversation—and all recordings will be archived in the Library of Congress (and potentially broadcast nationally). Importantly, the sessions recorded at Trinity will be available for our use in myriad ways.
To maximize the potential for alumni involvement, we’ve arranged for the project to coincide with Homecoming Weekend: October 11, 12, and 13. We hope that a wide range of students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and members of the surrounding community will participate. More details will follow, but for now, we’re getting the word out about the project and inviting people to express their interest in participating. I expect we’ll receive many more inquiries than the StoryCorps team can accommodate over three days’ time; they’ll select and pair participants based in large part on responses to this short survey. Regardless of your political background or views, we hope you will fill it out or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. The deadline for responding to the survey is Wednesday, August 15.
My thanks go to faculty members Lucy Ferriss and Irene Papoulis, as well as the Dean of the Faculty’s Office and the Office of Communications, for taking the lead in planning and partnering with StoryCorps to bring One Small Step to Trinity.
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience