The final StorySlam of the year was on April 15 in Wolff Auditorium under the theme ‘beyond.’
As usual, the event brought hundreds of students who took time out of their Monday night to sit, or stand in this case and listen to several of their peers and faculty.
The night was special for StorySlam because Joe Albert and emcees, Konner Sauve and Colleen Donoghue, are leaving for either retirement or graduation in May.
Story tellers were Maddie Hueske, Ryan Nguyen, Maurie Harbick, emcees Colleen Donoghue and Konner Sauve and Albert.
Hueske, Nguyen and Harbick told about how their lives have been shaped by struggles growing up and how they overcame discrimination and tragedy.
Hueske started out the night in a story of the struggle for feminism in the outdoors. She spoke of a transformation attending a GU Outdoors trip as a freshman all the way to being a trip leader. The story was special to GU because it shows us that there is always room for improvement even in the places that we hold close to our hearts.
Nguyen told his story on experiencing racism for the first time as a child. He was able to flip a poor experience into empowerment and pride for his family roots rather than let a bully get to him. The story was a perfect mix of ups and downs and really hit the point on recognizing the diversity in our upbringings.
Harbick spoke about family and dealing with loss as a young child. He let us in for a moment in his family’s life and the details that shape him today, reminding us to appreciate the time we have together.
The next two stories were introduced by the Catherine Collins and Cameron Marsh, the emcees that will take over next year.
Donoghue took the stage but delivered a story rather than her normal emcee position. She touched on an outdoor leadership experience and her reflection on mistakes that could have been critical. Donoghue showed us an important lesson on not sweating the small things, or “bad guide moves,” because in the end they made it up the mountain.
Sauve was next, also leaving behind his normal emcee position. His story reflected the thoughts going through his head as he prepares to graduate. He began with current day, accepting a job and transitioned into memories and stories of change in his childhood. Sauve reminded us to live in the present when he admits to living in the future all too often.
The final storyteller of the night was Dr. Albert. Dr. Albert was the reason StorySlam began and this would be his last slam.
As past members of the StorySlam team sat in the audience, Albert reflected on the first big journey from home that led him to Spokane. It was reflective, telling the audience his first experiences in Spokane and the people he met along the way.
Albert began StorySlam as a series of roundtable dialogues on the topic of narrative and authenticity with various faculty members from different departments. The first pilot of StorySlam was in November 2010 in the old Foley Library auditorium. It continued on the idea of sharing stories as a way to bond people “in a very authentic and meaningful way.”
“What was clear to me was that storytelling was a significant source of building community, reducing the notion that it is ok to marginalize people who are different from us,” continued Dr. Albert. “Once we hear someone’s story they cease to be a number, or part of a group that we feel safe in marginalizing.”
Albert said the event has grown in popularity, something that is clear in the fact that Wolff Auditorium was packe, yet again, for the whole two-hour event.
Albert is not worried with leaving StorySlam in his successor’s hands when he retires.
“I think StorySlam has a great future," he said.
The night ended with a special surprise; The four emcees stood up and introduced a book that contains all the stories from this year’s StorySlams.