The Oberlin Stories Project


How To Contribute

Our goal is to collect 1000 personal narratives from students, alumni, faculty, and staff that will collectively explain the merits and strengths of Oberlin in a very honest and organic way.

Although quality is of absolute concern, the project also requires quantity to be successful. Each story that is added to the collection makes it a more accurate representation of what Oberlin is really like. That's why we need as many contributions as possible.

The events themselves don't have to be monumental, nor are we looking for complete biographies. Each story should simply explain one aspect of the author's Oberlin experience, like a tile in a mosaic or a piece of a puzzle.

If you have a story to share, please write to us at stories@oberlin.edu and we'll work with you to get it published.


Guidelines

» Make your story specific. Don't just make a list of all the activities / adventures / events you've ever been involved with. Pick one and write about why it matters. Readers can't connect with stories that are too general.

» Have a point. What did your class / project / student group / team / performance art / etc. do to change you, the world, or both? How does it relate to Oberlin?

» Write in the first-person tense.

» Include a people- or action-centric photograph that illustrates some aspect of your story. We cannot publish your story without a photograph.

» Stories should be at least 300 words, preferably 500-800 words, and no more than 1200 words.


Themes and questions to get you thinking

» We make.

  • Did you create something at Oberlin, together or alone (an art project, film, co-op meal, senior project, thesis, etc.)?
  • Was there something missing at Oberlin that you decided needed to be here? Did you decide to teach an ExCo, start a club, or begin an entrepreneurial venture?

» We do.

  • What have you been a part of at Oberlin that you didn't know about or explore until you arrived here?
  • How have your Oberlin experiences assisted you outside of Oberlin?

» We contribute.

  • Have you been a part of a campus organization or student group?
  • As a student, did you have any sort of meaningful contact or connection with an Oberlin alum?
  • Did you hold any leadership positions?
  • Have you interacted with greater Oberlin/Lorain County/northeastern Ohio community?
  • Did you work in any student jobs while at Oberlin? Why did you choose those positions, and what have you learned from them?

» We live.

  • What were your living situations at Oberlin? Dorm, co-op, or program house? With whom did you live?
  • How did you dine during your time here? Did you eat in OSCA? Did you contribute to any memorable meals?
  • What is your favorite spot in Oberlin? How did you discover it? Why do you like it so much?

» We travel.

  • Have you spent time traveling abroad? What did you learn? What did you bring back?
  • What kind of adventures have you had because of Oberlin? (Including but not limited to summer internships, service trips, winter term projects...)

» We learn.

  • Describe a memorable professorial experience.
  • Have you participated in research, independent or in a group, on campus with a professor or outside of Oberlin?
  • Have you taken or taught an ExCo?

» We grow.

  • How have you developed as a person at Oberlin?
  • How have you changed as a person because of Oberlin?
  • What have been your biggest challenges while at Oberlin, and how did you conquer them?
  • How have you become a better writer, musician, scientist, thinker, or more (or a combination of many of these things)?
  • Do you have overlapping interests or passions? How have they converged at Oberlin?

Thank you!


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