Why are you doing this project? What is the vision?
Inspired by the CNN campaigns “25 Influential Muslims” and “The First Time I Realized I Was Black”, our classes are trying to provide a platform on which marginalized voices can be heard. Supported by the recent University Climate Study Finding, we are trying to address the population of students who feel as if they do not belong on campus whether this is due to sexual orientation, race, religion, socioeconomic status, etc.
Our vision – Our goal is using simplicity to draw the focus on the narrative itself and not the technical aspects of our project. We used a simple grey background to demonstrate this and a close-up profile. Nothing fancy, because the content is in what our interviewees share.
We want this project is to draw attention to the issue of belonging within the SJU community and in addressing the issue, finding ways to solve it. We hope to make the SJU community more inclusive, open, and more receptive to discussing issues of belonging.
Why did this class choose belonging as a topic?
We had an issue with the inclusivity of St. Joe’s and had all these issues we thought deserved to be addressed. The umbrella idea of “belonging” allows for all of these – mental health, national identity, race, gender, sexual assault, et cetera – to be examined through one’s own story.
What about belonging is the class most interested in?
Belonging was purposefully chosen because it is an umbrella term that encompasses the many issues we wanted to address at Saint Joseph’s University. Of course, the goal is to make more people who feel “othered,” or are concerned with “othering,” feel a more palpable sense of belonging within a campus that purports its concern for the “caring of the whole person.”
Mental Health FAQs
What is the goal of the project?
To share vulnerable stories of mental health in a sensitive and respectful way that allows the narrative to empower the individual rather than exploit them.
Why did the class choose mental health?
Our class chose mental health from a variety of topics that we saw as topics of conversation and concern around campus. However, we went with mental health because we believe it to be an important topic of discussion and concern, especially among college students. We feel as though mental health often contains a stigma with it, and by sharing these stories, we hope to break the various stigmas from mental health. Overall, we hope to generate a discussion surrounding mental health on our campus through these stories.
Do I have the ability to stop my participation if I want?
In addition to the question above, this will be a great way to reinforce that they will be able to participate in the entire process of their story. “You have control over your story and if you would like to stop participating at any time, just let us know and we will not use anything that we already have in our project.” It will be important to tell them that you are still thankful they engaged with the project, even though they chose not to continue participating in the project.
Who else is involved?
Other students or professors from the university will be interviewed for the project and our class will be involved in the filming and photographing.