The Learning Communities Program at Minnesota State University, Mankato, provides an opportunity for incoming first-year students to join a community that supports their academic success and transition to college life. This I Believe executive director Dan Gediman will appear at the school this week to kick off the campus exploration of what students and faculty believe and why, as individuals and as a community. Click here to learn more about the project.
Plymouth, New Hampshire
Attendees at the Holderness School are encouraged to be “intellectually passionate and always curious; to be public-spirited and always attentive to the needs of others… and to be aware, finally, of the spiritual dimensions of human experience.” This spring, students in the English Language and Compositions course at the school were asked to write This I Believe essays. Click here to listen to some of their audio declarations.
Based on the first year common reading of This I Believe, students, faculty, and staff of the EVOKE program at Loyola University in Chicago are writing This I Believe essays to discuss shared values, beliefs, and motivations. The goal of the program is to shed light on those core elements that define us as people. Click here and here to learn more about the beliefs of the Loyola community.
In partnership with This I Believe, the U.S. Embassy cultural affairs section in Cairo has announced a This I Believe essay-writing project for the Egyptian people. Selected essayists will be invited to present their statements at events in early August in Cairo, including one reading at the Maadi Public Library just for teen-aged writers. Learn more about the Arabic This I Believe project on the Embassy’s Facebook page.
Medford and Marlton, New Jersey
Two high schools in the Lenape Regional High School District in central New Jersey have chosen This I Believe for their One Book One School Choice for 2011-2012. Nearly 4,000 students and faculty will be reading the book, which will be used as a medium to promote interdisciplinary learning and activities. Click here to watch Shawnee and Cherokee’s video of the One Book, One School Book Chat.
Bucknell University has selected This I Believe as the first-year common reading for the Class of 2015. Over the summer, students will read the book and begin to reflect on the fundamental values that guide their lives. Then, starting with New Student Orientation and continuing through the fall semester, the incoming freshmen will explore what they believe and why, as individuals and as a community. Click here to learn more about Bucknell’s first-year common reading.
At the Center for Intensive English Studies at Florida State University, a This I Believe project is helping ESL students develop their language skills by having them share life experiences that have shaped their beliefs. Assistant Director Ramin Yazdanpanah says, “This I Believe essays are an invaluable resource to our students for reading development and cultural awareness.” Click here and here to read essays by students from around the globe.
Jefferson City, Missouri
Students at the Simonsen Ninth Grade Center found their voices through a This I Believe essay project this spring. After writing their personal narratives, students made audio and video recordings of their essays. English teacher Emily Vallandingham says the project gave her students the opportunity to explore their values and beliefs, and provided them a venue for telling their stories. Click here to watch a video about their classroom project.
Palm Desert, California
English students at the College of the Desert in California took part in the school’s Forum Series by reading their This I Believe essays in front of school faculty, students, and staff. Kathlyn Enciso, Associate Professor of English, Communication, has been assigning the This I Believe essay at the community college since 2006. She says her students’ work ranges from “intensely personal to profoundly revelatory.”
At Tufts University in suburban Boston, the theme of this year’s annual student film competition is “This We Believe,” in conjunction with the school’s common reading selection, This I Believe. All eight entries were screened at a special campus event, and the top three videos were awarded cash prizes. Click here to view the entry by first place-winners Andrew Ineson and Usamah Suhrawardy. Or click here to view all the entries.
Winston-Salem, North Carolina
For more than a year, the members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Winston-Salem have been writing and sharing This I Believe essays as part of their fellowship. Click here to read the This I Believe presentations given by UUFWS members, which illustrate the breadth and diversity of opinions held within this congregation – from “Dr. Seuss’s Horton the Elephant as Role Model” to “The Unity of Existence.”
Students at Longwood University are attempting to break a record for the world’s largest papier-mâché sculpture. The 10-foot ball was inspired by Resident Assistant staff who wanted to bring the school community together. Included in the sculpture are some of the many This I Believe statements students wrote this year after their common reading of This I Believe II. Click here to read the full article in the student newspaper. Or Click here to see more photos.
Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes
Since 2008, This I Believe has partnered with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes (OLLI) to provide lifelong learners with a six-week course on writing and sharing This I Believe essays. Rosemary Deitzer, an OLLI member at the University of Cincinnati said, “In this week’s class, tears were abundantly plentiful — that’s how much this program has touched our members.” Click here to find an Osher Lifelong Learning Institute near you.
Virginia Tech selected This I Believe II for the university’s 2011-2012 Common Book Project, which gives new and transfer undergraduate students a common academic experience during their first year at the school. Daniel Wubah, vice president and dean for undergraduate education, says they selected the book because of “its relevance to the transitional process from high school to college.” Click here to learn more about Virginia Tech’s Common Book Project.
The InterCorps Council of Minnesota chose “This We Believe” as the theme of its AmeriCorps Week 2010 event. The ICC asked its members to write and share This I Believe essays about the values and beliefs of those who serve to make their communities stronger. Click here to view a video created by AmeriCorps Minnesota members. Or click here to read the beliefs of Minnesotans who work to make a positive impact on their communities.
Last semester, Advanced Broadcasting students at Jacksonville University were assigned a video version of the This I Believe essay. Dr. Annmarie Kent-Willette says the assignment provided a link between a discussion of objective narrative journalism and an introspective focus. The Florida Associated Press Broadcasters Awards selected one of the school’s works as the best student video essay in the state. Click here to view This I Believe videos produced at Jacksonville University.
During the spring 2011 semester, the Georgia Institute of Technology started its own This I Believe series for students, faculty, and staff in conjunction with the new informal discussion program called Open Forum. Selected essayists will be invited to present their essays at a This We Believe event night at their student center. To learn more, visit the This We Believe at Georgia Tech web site.
These students at Skyline High School in Longmont, Colorado, are creating podcasts of their This I Believe essays. Other classes around the country are hosting essay readings, creating art, and producing videos. Now, we want to hear from you. Take a minute to join a new discussion thread on our Facebook page. If you are a teacher, how do you use This I Believe in the classroom? Click here to let us know.
Coquitlam, British Columbia
Through a classroom wiki, students at The Academy of Learning for Outstanding, Notable Students in suburban Vancouver are exploring a multimedia approach to This I Believe. These ninth and tenth graders present their statements of belief through art, YouTube videos, podcast recordings, and even a This I Believe musical jam session. Click here to see examples of their class work. Or click here and here to watch their This I Believe videos.
Providence, Rhode Island
Rhode Island’s public radio station, WRNI, has been broadcasting essays of its local citizens through This I Believe – Rhode Island since 2007. This year, WRNI collaborated with photographer Scott Indermaur’s REVEALED project to create a series of photographs featuring thirteen Rhode Islanders who shared their This I Believe essays. Click here to view a slideshow of the REVEALED project. Or click here to hear essays recorded by Rhode Islanders.
The Putnam County Public Library in Greencastle, Indiana, partnered with DePauw University to kick off Putnam County READS: This I Believe. The library launched its project with a series of essay readings by community leaders, students, and representatives from local business, education, and artists. In addition, the library sponsored writing workshops and encouraged local citizens to write their own This I Believe essays. Margot Payne, Director of Community Relations, says the project represented “a variety of philosophies and beliefs designed to bring the community together in a spirit of deeper understanding, respect, and inclusiveness.” Learn more about Putnam County READS.
State College, Pennsylvania
For three years, public radio station WPSU has gathered and shared the beliefs of more than 120 central Pennsylvanians in its local version of This I Believe. The station at Penn State University has treated listeners to essays about everything from protecting human dignity to wiffle ball, and simple pleasures to heavy metal. Click here to listen to essays from WPSU’s This I Believe. Or click here to watch a video animation of one of their essays.
Public radio station WUIS has created a localized version of This I Believe to engage high school seniors in this essay-writing exercise. Selected students from central Illinois are recording their essays for broadcast. Chosen essays will also be published and posted on WUIS.org. Student essayists will also be eligible to receive a $100 scholarship from the Rotary Club of Springfield Sunrise. Click here to read essays from the project.
Dare County, North Carolina
The people of the Outer Banks in North Carolina have engaged in a community-wide This I Believe project, inviting everyone to read and write This I Believe essays. Partners include the Dare County Education Foundation, Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce, Dare County libraries, and the Dare County Arts Council. In addition, every Dare County teacher received a copy of This I Believe II, and attended a half-day staff development program about This I Believe.