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humans of oshkoshWhat began as a class assignment to engage with the campus community and beyond through stories evolved into a celebration of the humans of Oshkosh.

“Humans of Oshkosh” is a storytelling blog inspired by the Humans of New York, which was started by Brandon Stanton in 2010. The Humans of Oshkosh Facebook page is produced by students at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh enrolled in the University Studies Program (USP) Quest III Interdisciplinary Studies “Telling Stories for Fun, Profit and World Peace” class.

Friday, Dec. 5, the campus and broader communities are invited to hear the story behind the Humans of Oshkosh stories. Guests will be able to meet the student storytellers, who found and told stories of love and war, life and death and everything in between.

The spotlight is part of the Quest III Showcase held in the Reeve Memorial Union ballroom. Students and faculty members will share Quest III course presentations and stories from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. on the second and third floors of Reeve Memorial Union. The Humans of Oshkosh event will kick off with a 5:30 p.m. gallery event (light refreshments provided) and a presentation will begin at 6 p.m.

Humans of Oshkosh is just one of the courses bringing new attention to UW Oshkosh’s nationally-lauded and highly regarded transformation of general education into the USP. This fall 2014 academic semester, the first fleet of Quest III courses designed by UW Oshkosh faculty members sent 800 to 900 sophomore students out of the classroom and out into the community. Faculty members teaching courses connected content (topics, for example, range from developing sustainable food to the history of philanthropy) with local nonprofits, schools and other agencies, giving students incredibly high-impact learning opportunities well beyond the conventional classrooms’ walls.

Michael Lueder, civic engagement coordinator for the USP, said the inaugural Quest III Showcase will look back at the semester’s community-connected teaching and learning, featuring examples of collaborative projects from 10 different Quest III courses.

“The Showcase will feature interactive theatre productions, poster displays from history to business to education courses, roundtable conversations related to a physical education course, presentations related to political science and interdisciplinary studies and an anthropology course’s displays connected with students’ work with the Oshkosh Area School District’s ‘Lighted Schoolhouse’ after-school program,” Lueder said. “There will be a great array of projects on display.”

The Humans of Oshkosh will include an exhibit of more than 300 Humans of Oshkosh stories, the first Humans of Oshkosh printed book, demonstrations of the eBooks produced for the Humans of Oshkosh – Veterans Story Project and a live performance of an original song “And Then…” written especially for the Humans of Oshkosh.

Also corresponding with the Quest III showcase event, Oshkosh Mayor Burk Tower issued a proclamation to the Oshkosh Common Council last week to make Dec. 5 Humans of Oshkosh Day.

The proclamation states:

“Whereas, Oshkosh is a strong community with a proud history and rich heritage; and
“Whereas, the people who call Oshkosh home come to the community for many reasons, and with stories of challenge, triumph, and perseverance in pursing their life’s goal; and
“Whereas, this initiative is showcasing the stories, the narrative, and the life experiences of the people from this region; and
“Now, therefore, I, Burk Tower, Mayor of the City of Oshkosh, in recognition of the presentation that will be held Dec. 5, 2014 do hereby proclaim that Friday, Dec. 5, 2014 noted as:
“Humans of Oshkosh Day
“That, the residents of Oshkosh are urged to reflect on the activities and accomplishments of all who make Oshkosh their home; and
“That, the participating students who captured these stories on the Humans of Oshkosh blog are recognized and commended for their work in recording an capturing stories that represent pieces of the broader sense of history that makes our community so strong, proud, and diverse.”

Check out the Humans of Oshkosh Event Trailer video produced by student videographer Josh Hedge; original music by student musician/composer Tony Baglien.


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