The next University Lecture Series (ULS) will be more interactive than previous lectures, featuring the photo-storytelling project Dear World.
Dear World asks participants to share their story with the world in a unique way: on their skin. Using a marker, they write a message on their skin that they want to share. Participants then receive a picture of themselves with their story inked on their skin.
What started out as a way to show love to the city of New Orleans has expanded into a worldwide project with stories varying from personal experiences, to tributes to places, to thank-yous to parents.
“(Dear World) has just kind of evolved, I think, into a vehicle for people to share about someone they love or someone they care about,” Robert Fogarty, founder of Dear World, said. “But it initially started in New Orleans as a way for people to talk about why they loved the city.”
On March 1, USF students will have the opportunity to share their own stories. Dear World will set up a booth at Bull Market and allow students to share with each other and the “storytellers” from Dear World.
“We thought since we have such a diverse pool of students and such a large pool of students … that that would be a really cool experience for them,” Marion Huntley, Coordinator for the Center for Student Involvement (CSI), said.
Fogarty said that the student stories paint a “portrait of the school.”
“What is really special, and what I’m excited about when we come to USF, is watching the students come together and write on each other and hear their stories,” Fogarty said. “It’s a very participatory project.”
For the ULS lecture that same evening, five students whose stories stand out and who are willing to share with the USF community will speak in front of the attendees.
“Whoever is willing to truly, boldly stand on the stage and share their story is who (Dear World) is looking for,” Joshua Wilson, associate director at the Center for Student Involvement and Fraternity/Sorority Life at USF, said.
The storytellers from Dear World will coach students who want to share onstage so that the process is not so intimidating, explained Huntley.
“They prep (students) on it and help them through the process of helping to share their story,” she said.
Fogarty said that the night will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for all involved.
“(It will be) a night that the people in the room will never forget, and can never be recreated, frankly,” he said. “It’s kind of a one-night-only thing, and that’s special.”