Discover how communities and schools everywhere are using This I Believe.
New Kensington, Pennsylvania
A group of faculty, staff, and students at Penn State New Kensington selected This I Believe: Life Lessons for their 2014 Summer Reading Program. Students received a copy of the book over the summer, then came to campus prepared to discuss the essays on core beliefs. In the fall, students were encouraged to write their own essays as part of a campus-wide essay contest.
San Angelo, Texas
As part of the Pearl of the Concho Writing Project at Angelo State University, teen writers enjoyed a two-week writing camp with the theme “The Story of My Life.” Teachers Shanna Saverance and Sandy Pedersen guided students through the personal memoir genre, encouraging them to think deeply about who they are and what they believe. The students found the This I Believe essay to be a challenge, but Ms. Saverance says, “the results of their efforts are quite impressive.”
The Book-in-Common program at Texas Woman’s University is a campus-wide initiative to get students, faculty, and staff reading the same book, and this year’s selection is This I Believe II. The program hopes to engage students in a dialogue of social issues and diverse perspectives related to values and ethics. Dan Gediman will talk with both faculty and students about This I Believe and how it can stimulate important conversations across campus.
At the Missouri School of Journalism, editorial-writing students have been writing—and recording—This I Believe essays since 2008. Professor Clyde Bentley asks his students first to write their personal essays, then record and edit with the software Audacity, and then finally upload their audio recordings to Soundcloud and YouTube. Click here to learn more about the MizzouBelieve project.
Incoming freshmen at Northern Arizona University are being asked to read This I Believe in hopes that the students will find relatable voices and be encouraged to explore and refine their own core values as they navigate their new surroundings. Students will have opportunities to build community with their new classmates, as well as participate in discussions, lectures, and a visit from the book’s co-editor, Dan Gediman, this fall.
In a community project entitled Believe*Write*Share, residents of communities in and near Fredericksburg, Virginia, are being asked to consider their core beliefs. The project was inspired by This I Believe, and is sponsored by the Central Rappahannock Regional Library and Water Street Studio. Community essays are being posted to the library’s website, and selected writers will share their essays at a community reading later this summer.
Mental health agency Porter-Starke Services received a national Best Practices Honor from the American Psychological Association for creating a psychologically healthy workplace. The award recognizes The Inspiration Project, which invites employees to share This I Believe essays of their core values and beliefs. “We wanted to give life to the words of our mission, vision, and values,” said Rocco Schiralli, Porter-Starke president and CEO.
Since 2007, public radio station WUIS has been asking high school seniors to share stories of their core beliefs. This year marks the eighth senior class that has had its This I Believe essays broadcast on WUIS, and the local newspaper also prints selected pieces. In addition, the Rotary Club of Springfield, Sunrise, has partnered with WUIS each year and provides $100 scholarships to selected students. Visit WUIS’s website to learn the beliefs of these outstanding seniors.
New Orleans, Louisiana
All new first-year students at the University of New Orleans received a free copy of This I Believe before arriving on campus last fall. The book has been a focal point in their English classes, as well as their first-year courses. Many freshmen wrote their own “This I Believe” essays, and several shared them at a public gathering on campus. “When you tap into the essential . . . you can reach higher,” said UNO writing instructor Ali Arnold.