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The monotony of University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumnus Paul Nicolaus’ daily drive to work is occasionally interrupted when an elderly gentleman offers a genuine wave to each passing vehicle.

This gesture inspired Nicolaus MA ’09, of Appleton, to write an essay titled, “The Wonders of a Wave,” as part of the “This We Believe at UW Oshkosh” project, which invites UWO faculty, staff, students and alumni to share their personal life philosophies.

“For a brief moment this hiccup in my routine yanks me out of my own little world, and as my mood is lifted, it reminds me that I’m presented with these same types of opportunities to wave to a stranger, greet a co-worker, shake hands with a friend, hug a relative or kiss my wife each and every day,” wrote Nicolaus, the writing center director at UW-Fox Valley. “When these seemingly insignificant acts are carried out with care and warmth, I believe they become revolutionary.”

Nicolaus’ essay and a sampling of other essays from the project have been recorded and can be heard at random times on the campus radio station, 90.3 WRST-FM Oshkosh. Plans are underway to broadcast the essays during a regular time slot beginning in February, said Randall Davidson, UWO’s radio services director.

“One of the things that make these segments good for radio is when the essay is written in the same way the person talks. It should sound as though it’s not being read, but rather is just being said as though talking with a friend,” Davidson said.

Members of the UW Oshkosh community are encouraged to submit 350-500 word essays to the project, sponsored by UWO Alumni Relations in celebration of the University’s 140th anniversary in 2011-2012.

The project, a partnership with the nonprofit, international This I Believe organization, engages people from all walks of life to write and share essays describing the core values that guide their daily lives.

Listen to Nicolaus’ essay and others.

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