Res Life Leads Students to Create Their Own Stories

Res Life Leads Students to Create Their Own Stories

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Faina Bukher, Annie Crossman, Randy Schroeder

Faina Bukher (l) and Randy Schroeder (r) present Annie Crossman with her “Create Your Own Story” award at the annual luncheon.

Eleven years ago, Ruth Abelmann, associate director of residential life, was talking with her colleagues about finding a way to share student stories that would showcase their accomplishments and inspire others to take advantage of all the opportunities UNH has to offer.

On April 15 the latest results of those decade-old conversations filled the ballroom at Huddleston Hall where the students selected for this year’s “Create Your Own Story” shared theirs. 

“It really was just an idea I had,” Abelmann says. “The thinking was ‘let’s find a way to share stories about students who really claim their education, take initiative, and connect with the many great people at UNH to do good things in their time here.’”

So a plan was created: ask faculty and staff to nominate students, choose 10, and then tell their stories.  Winners would be announced at a celebratory luncheon.

“When it started it was intended as a one-year initiative, but after experiencing the magic of the luncheon the committee knew that that we had just started an annual program for UNH,” Abelmann says. “Each year the previous stories retire and we circulate them to be hung in departments or offices the recipients were connected to.”

Eleven years out, the project has seen faculty from every college and staff from across campus nominate students. In 2013, the 10th anniversary of “Create Your Own Story,” Chaplain Larry Brickner-Wood was recognized for nominating more than 50 students since the program began. To date, 110 students have shared their stories.

During Tuesday’s luncheon, Randy Schroeder of the Center for Academic Resources, who has been involved with “Create Your Own Story” for five years, called the program “truly one of the very best things I do here.” 

“What has struck me most over the years is how inspired the speakers are by the students they work with, as though these students are challenging the UNH faculty and staff to be better human beings, better professionals and more courageous in our work and life,” Abelmann says.

This year’s honorees include: Annie Crossman, Siddharth Nigam, Evan Beals, Lauren McCandless, Peter Wilkinson, Nyomi Guzman, Zak Ahmad-Kahloon, Emily Dickman, Kathryn Sattora and Timothy Marquis.

Read more about “Create Your Own Story” here.