Story Slam

GU story slam features student and staff storytellers to highlight personal experiences and create a sense of community. 

The stage was dark, the crowd was eager and then suddenly there was a little light. A fire. A spark, perhaps?  

Gonzaga’s Story Slam event is back, ready to rock and certainly lit things off this Tuesday night with five different stories in the Wolff Auditorium following the theme "Spark".

The hosts of this year’s slam are GU seniors Peter Jonas and Blaine Atkins, who also got the chance to take the stage to tell their stories for a few minutes on opening night.

"I think last night went great," Jonas said. "It was really nice to have everyone back in person. The energy of having everyone in a shared space is powerful and very fun."

The spirit that culminated in the room, from ten minutes before the doors opened and up until the night was over, was comforting and created a safe space for the storytellers as well as the audience. It was a strong community to sit amongst for the night.

Josh Armstrong is the director of GU’s comprehensive leadership program and coaches storytellers to help them strengthen their stories before they take the stage. 

“People live storytelling lives,” Armstrong said. “I usually tell our story tellers that what’s most personal is most universal.”

The stories shared on Tuesday covered a wide range of human experiences that kept listeners at the edge of their seats, roaring with laughter and reflecting on their own adventures as well. 

“Anyone can reach out with a pitch, and we’ll meet with them and help them craft a narrative,” Jonas said. “We’ll work with them over the course of a month to help.”

There are a lot of hands on deck, ready to support people in helping their stories reach full potential and making sure they’re comfortable beforehand. 

Reinforcement comes from all angles in Story Slam, and it’s an opportunity to live vicariously through other people’s experiences. No one person can do it all but anyone can attempt to understand. 

“Sharing a story is one of the most rewarding and validating processes," Jonas said. "It feels good to really take authorship of your life. I really encourage people to reach out because this is an awesome event."

The next Story Slam will be on Tuesday, Nov. 2 in Wolff Auditorium from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m., with the theme “Ripe”.  

For any story pitches or interest in being a part of the next event, email Jonas or Atkins at pjonas@zagmail.gonzaga.edu and batkins@zagmail.gonzaga.edu.

Follow its Instagram @storyslamgu to keep up on new themes, more dates for upcoming events and all things Story Slam. Happy storytelling.

Kayla Friedrich is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter: @friedrich_kayla. 

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