StoryCorps Initiative Sparks Conversations at Berry  

Release Date: April 24, 2019

ROME, Ga. – Berry College recently hosted StoryCorps’ latest initiative, “One Small Step,” a push to bridge the political divide by having individuals with opposing viewpoints have a conversation.

The process starts with two students with different perspectives taking a seat across from each other. Then, with the help of a facilitator, they have a conversation. The goal is to share about life experiences that influence one’s beliefs in order to break down barriers, not to have a debate. The central theme of the project is to remember our common humanity.

“The week has been fascinating here,” said Morgan Feigal-Stickles, StoryCorps facilitator. “It’s been really interesting to see the students who have come in and their willingness to talk and share about their experiences, and to try to connect.”

StoryCorps’ founder Dave Isay spoke at Berry in the fall about his book, “Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work.” Following his visit, the award-winning media non-profit selected Berry to participate in “One Small Step.”

In the past, StoryCorps has brought two people together who love and care for one another. Many conversations about life have been recorded and listeners get a glimpse of their relationship. This new kind of interview between two people that have rival political views was started in response to the national discord. The hope for this initiative is that people get to know one another and take one small step toward each other.

“I believe these conversations are so important because nothing will ever change or communication will never improve if we do not have these hard conversations,” said Bailey Dingley, a junior from Woodstock, Ga. “And even if they are scary or uncomfortable, we will never truly be expanding our knowledge if we don’t listen to others’ experiences.”

Around 40 students participated in the interviews over the course of the week. The conversations were recorded and will be kept as part of a historical record for generations to come.

Berry is honored to have been chosen for this project, which is funded by a $1 million grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. More info can be found here storycorps.org/discover/onesmallstep/

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Written by Public Relations Student Assistant Megan Benoit