"We are UWTacoma" storytelling

January 1, 2020

‘We are UWTacoma’ story project: A (Semi) Final Word

Values graphic

Rachel Howe interned with the ‘We are UWTacoma” story project for six months — brainstorming outreach ideas, interviewing students, staff, and faculty; writing up stories; and helping implement a final art project–one that I hope to have installed in the TLC before too much longer–that includes quotes from all of the stories you’ve read (or will read) on this blog. She played an indispensable role in reaching out to many across campus to gather their stories and keeping the project of track. As project coordinator, I know could never have managed without her. On her last day on the project, she wrote a final report about her experiences and I share it here as we close out this project.

“When I first heard about the ‘We are UWTacoma’ story project I was beyond excited about its potential. UW Tacoma is such a diverse campus, and the student body has a plethora of experiences and perspectives that make each of us unique and special in our own way. When those experiences and perspectives combine, something incredibly special is created. This project was a way to bring those voices and those stories out of the shadows – to give them a voice. 

Since day one I have loved this project and what it represents. This project is so much more than just a collection of experiences – it’s a way to empower and inspire our students, faculty, and staff; to give future students a glimpse into what their futures could be if they decide to join us on our campus. 

Through all of the interviews and stories that we’ve collected over the past six months I have had profound insights into what it truly means to be a student on this campus. This is not just a university – this is a home away from home, a place of belonging, a place to figure out who you are truly meant to be. I have been able to relate aspects of each story to my own experiences here, and it has greatly increased my love for this campus and my belief that the opportunities here are truly boundless. 

Working on this project has been eye-opening and a truly humbling experience. I have gained so much insight and experience from my time here. Hearing other people tell their stories has given me insight into the incredible diversity and the wide range of backgrounds that abound  on our campus; there is truth in the observation that every student here brings something new to the table. 

Through this project I have been given the opportunity to expand my writing skills by learning how to transcribe the dozens of interviews we conducted as part of the project and then learning how to turn those interviews into narratives for the blog. I also expanded my marketing skills by creating TV ads and flyers to promote our project across campus. These are valuable skills that I can use in my future endeavors and in my career, and I am incredibly grateful that I was given the opportunity to gain these skills and have these experiences. 

I am honored and humbled beyond words to have been part of this project.” 

~Rachel Howe

Although I would dearly love to continue this project–collecting stories from stakeholders across campus–for years to come, with this New Year’s Day 2020 post we have reached the end of this year-long project. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the stories of many across campus–from those who have been here since the earliest days of UW Tacoma’s presence in this city to those who are more recent arrivals and graduates. It has been my pleasure to plan and coordinate this project and especially to hear the experiences of so many others to whom this campus and those who inhabit it mean so much. Thank you for sharing your stories! And a special thank you to the Strategic Initiatives Fund committee for awarding the grant that made this project possible!

If you have a UW Tacoma story to tell, you can still contact me at margal3@uw.edu and I’ll be happy to include it here!

Thank you–and Happy 2020!

Margaret Lundberg

Teaching and Learning Center

University of Washington Tacoma