The Wesleyan Storytelling Project podcast

Characterizing Wesleyan’s identity didn’t always resonate with alumni. We created a way for our audience to describe experiences of college in their own words, and share those meanings with each other.

People in their own words

Inspired by StoryCorps and produced by Mia Lobel ’97, the Storytelling Project invited alumni into the sound booth to share their experiences and memories of Wesleyan. We distributed clips via iTunes and SoundCloud.

SoundCloud player with Miguel Guadalupe ’98 and Maria Santana ’98 telling their story.
Miguel Guadalupe and Maria Santana Guadalupe tell how they met through their love of dancing.

I led the team responsible for technical production, secondary interviews, and publishing. In addition to Mia, our interviewers included alumna Aditi Kini ’12, MA ’16 and student intern Tess Altman ’17, both of whom conducted a related interview series with Wesleyan alumni in the arts.

PreSonus AudioBox VSL mixer in Wesleyan’s podcasting studio.
Producer Mia Lobel taught me and my team the fundamentals of audio recording.

Diversity as shared experience

The series ran for three years and garnered over 15,000 unique plays. It quantitatively and qualitatively improved engagement amongst constituents and increased alumni contact with the University, becoming a core feature of Wesconnect.

Alumni from the Wesleyan Class of ’49 speak with Aditi outside the Usdan Center.
Aditi talks to two members from the Class of ’49.

The project was unique and successful because we recognized the diversity of people’s experience of the same college, both across and within generations. Instead of asking the audience to rally around a shared symbol, the project was predicated on the idea that everyone has their own perspective and interpretation of events.

Tess speaks with alumni outside the Allbritton Center.
Tess interviews young alumni at Reunion and Commencement Weekend 2014.

Our team worked to create an environment in which participants wanted to speak about their experiences. The common thread I observed amongst the stories people shared with us was the idea of difference as a positive source of creativity and growth—not without conflict, but ultimately meaningful and valuable.

Visit the Wesleyan Storytelling Project →