Students and faculty offer their thoughts on life in a new book, Voices and Values, published by the Honors Program.
Cover art for Voices and Values
The idea for the project began after BGSU’s Common Reading Experience last year. Students in the Honors Program read the book This I Believe, which is filled with essays that originally aired on National Public Radio during a segment of the same name.
The Common Reading Experience is also part of the BG Experience Program and is designed to create a foundation for students to explore values and ethics.
Students, along with faculty and administrators in the Honors Program, were invited to write an essay of their own sharing the personal philosophies and core values that guide their daily lives. Of the 14 chosen for the book, topics range from one student’s belief in others to the idea of “elegant efficiency.”
The book was co-edited by Amy Rybak and Heath Diehl, faculty members in the General Studies Writing Program, who also contributed essays. Rybak called the project “very collaborative,” involving students at all levels and majors. “It was a terrifying and fun process, and something so personal to do in such a short format,” said Rybak.
The “This I Believe” essay format is a familiar one to Rybak. Several years ago, she heard the segment on NPR and introduced the concept to her students. Many of their essays were posted on NPR’s Web site. (http://www.bgsu.edu/offices/mc/news/2008/news53913.html)
Rybak said it gives students who have only been taught the five-paragraph essay format the chance to try something new and reflect upon their own experiences. “Students think they’re boring and then come up with these incredible stories that sometimes move people to tears,” she said.
Contributors to Voices and Values called their writing experience very rewarding.
“I think everyone should be forced at some point in their lives to put down in words what it is that they truly believe,” explained Cassie Guion, a senior theatre major from Hayesville. “When you write it down, it can’t be vague anymore; you have to define it and make it make sense, and the act of doing that, I believe, is one of the most important steps toward self-discovery.”
Morgan Swedberg, a junior from Cincinnati majoring in pre-graphic design, created the cover art for the book, which depicts a lectern on a stage. Swedberg said she wanted to portray the idea of a moment of great importance.
A launch party for the book will take place March 31 at President Carol Cartwright’s home.
The book is available for purchase for $6 through the Honors Program.