About Our Campaign

Storytelling is a powerful way to convey a narrative, shine light on an issue, and unite people across boundaries. Drawing inspiration from the storytelling practices behind the CNN stories, The First Time I Realized I Was Black and 25 Influential American Muslims, we created our own campaign, Start Talking SJU. We are indebted to CNN producers, Jacque Smith and Tawanda Scott Sambou, who offered their time and expertise to help us better understand digital storytelling practices and craft.

We have chosen the topics of belonging and mental health because both are critical issues facing the college campuses throughout the country, including at Saint Joseph’s University. We talked to students and faculty within the SJU community, as well as those students who have graduated and those who no longer attend SJU. Over the span of two weeks in November, we conducted 38 interviews to convey the unheard stories of those who have experienced a sense of mis-belonging or have had an experience with mental health.

The goal of our campaign is very much held within the name of our initiative – Start Talking SJU. Through our stories, we hope to enact a powerful narrative that is essential for our campus to engage in. That narrative includes both the topics of belonging and mental health.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing feelings of and associated with a lack of belonging and/or concerns with their mental health, please consider visiting the CAPS center or reaching them at 610-660-1090. For more urgent assistance, call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Belonging: Is the Nest Always a Home?
Megan Bevilacqua
Steven Branagan
Mike Farrell
Caitlin Gillard
Collin Giongo
Anne Howath
Lamarr Kimble
Anne McGinley
Jill O’Neill
Kelly Smith
Sabrina Stampe
Amanda Strydio
Elana Valentin
Rosa Weldon
Breanne Welsh
Sophie Werner
Alim Young

Producers: Mental Health: Silence the Stigma
Jennifer Altonji
Madison Auer
Keith Banquer
Emma Brenner
Cecelia Cianci
Maura Donnelly
Vilma Fermin
Julia Gray
Samantha Henry
Nathan King
Brett Lee
Michelle McCann
Clare Nastri
Erin Paccione
Joe Panichelli
Kaitlyn Patterson
Maggie Rawlins
Max Rosenfeld
Jennifer Tague

We encourage you to participate in the narrative, and if you feel called to do so, share your thoughts with #StartTalkingSJU. If you would like to give us feedback concerning our campaign, please let us know!