StoryCorps is a great nonprofit whose mission is:
to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share and preserve the stories of our lives. We do this to remind one another of our shared humanity, to strengthen and build the connections between people, to teach the value of listening, and to weave into the fabric of our culture the understanding that everyone’s story matters. At the same time, we are creating an invaluable archive for future generations.
The conversations and recordings they collect are archived at the Library of Congress and on their website. I consider what they’re doing to be an example of cultural conservation—of conveying cultural knowledge from one generation to another that reflects the specialness of place of the local community. It’s also in this vein that I like that StoryCorps sorts their stories for browsing by state as the primary filter.
But I think their work deserves to have a much broader impact than it is at present. I think an enormous opportunity exists for StoryCorps to partner with colleges and universities, specially their alumni associations. This could bring in earned income for StoryCorps while also providing major alumni associations a compelling program component and membership enticement.
We shouldn’t just share the stories of people and place, but also stories at the intersection of people, place, and the institutions they shape.