Senior Project Advisor

Joan Connell

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 2021


Oral Narratives, Honors, Diversity, Equity, Inclusion


Founded in 1962, the Honors Program at Western Washington University has prided itself on the cornerstones of academic excellence, student growth, and a tight-knit Honors community. With class sizes averaging 18 students and a dedicated Honors living space, the program certainly provides students a unique opportunity to build closer relationships with professors and peers alike as they pursue their goals within a larger university setting.

However, like colleges and universities across the nation, the predominantly white program has struggled to meaningfully include the voices and experiences of its students of color. For many, their relationship with the program remains a complicated story of struggling to feel included as they face alienation in the Honors living space as well as the classroom.

Thus, to truly share their experiences in Western Washington University’s Honors Program, the idea of crafting oral narratives was born. Taking the lead of journalists adept in the art of storytelling such as Eli Saslow, Brandon Stanton, Mark Kramer, and Wendy Call, the process of collecting oral narratives began. Through a series of interviews, advising, learning curves, editing, and more editing, the project finally came to life.

In the following narratives we find stories of frustration and loneliness, but also resiliency and hope as students speak out and demand change. We hope this series will provide a glimpse into the true experiences of students of color in the Honors Program who have chosen to share a piece of their vulnerable yet immensely valuable story. Through truly listening and valuing their voices, we can begin to create an Honors Program that welcomes all students regardless of their backgrounds.



Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Universities and colleges--Honors courses--Washington (State)--Bellingham; Minority college students--Washington (State)--Bellingham--Interviews

Subjects - Names (LCNAF)

Western Washington University

Geographic Coverage

Bellingham (Wash.)






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