Last Saturday April 28, residents of Stever House gathered for one of its last large community event – Stever Speaks. Stever House is a first-year residence hall community on campus. More notably it is also known as the “Green House” as it is the first residence hall in the US to be LEED certified. Its residents pride themselves to symbolize the cactus, as its hard thorny outside but soft inside embodies the value of resiliency.
Inspired by the work of former Community Advisor and fifth-year scholar Nick Wilson’s CMU Listens projects, a platform for students to share their own stories and for others to listen, Stever Speaks was meant to be a forum for residents themselves to talk about what their passionate as well as a place for their stories to be heard. Five residents shared their stories. Their stories ranged from mental health to relationships. It was an inclusive space for residents to share and listen – to further connect with and learn about one another on a deeper level. A space for people to open up and be true to who they are. And the event wrapped up with fifth-year scholar Nick Wilson to wrap up on a light note with a fun anecdote about finding one’s own passions and hobbies. The night certainly left attendees inspired and more reflective.
Everyone has their own individual stories – own beautiful stories. It takes courage to step up and share. But it is those stories that brings people together, bridges that gap between differences. These stories show us that we are more similar than different – that we are ultimately all human and are stronger leaning on one another. Especially with the growing divisiveness in politics and around the world, we are the safeguard to bringing people together and reminding all that no experience is worthless, no story too trivial. The event has certainly reminded me to not only embrace who I am for myself but also be that listener and reach out to those whose story deserves to be heard. And I absolutely will continue to do so.