Students who have struggled to access higher education will have an opportunity to share their stories with the campus community starting first week, as part of a year-long project of the undergraduate student government.
The Facing Project, headed on campus by the Undergraduate Students Association Council’s Community Service Commission, will consist of first-person narratives detailing how students got to UCLA and the struggles they face or have faced while trying to attend college. In spring, a book of students’ stories and photos will be distributed to students, campus staff and faculty for free, said Community Service Commissioner Cynthia Wong.
The initiative is part of a larger organization called The Facing Project, which began in Indiana in the winter of 2011-2012 as a way for impoverished individuals to find empowerment by voicing their stories. The Community Service Commission is partnering with the national Facing Project to bring the initiative to UCLA.
Starting first week, any student can sign up to tell a personal story. Storytellers who want to participate will be paired, during winter quarter, with student writers who will then write their stories. The application for writers will be open to all students and are due on a rolling basis until the end of fall quarter.
The commission plans to collect stories from students of all backgrounds to shed light on the obstacles some individuals overcame to get to UCLA, such as financial difficulties, academic competition and racial and sex-based discrimination, Wong said.
“Lots of things come into play in our campus community,” she said. “This is a real and personal way that we can share the stories people have to tell. We want to give them the means to tell their stories.”
The commission is looking to publish about 25 to 30 stories from students, but would accept more if many people apply, Wong said.
Compiled by Julia Raven, Bruin senior staff.