Here’s the pitch letter that sums up my Capstone project. I think it (hopefully) gives a pretty good idea of what this project is going to look like, though really the interviews will dictate a lot of it. Anyway, without further ado, my letter:
We all have more in common than we think. Every day we go to work or to school, to meetings or events, to activities or responsibilities. Whether we realize it or not, we’re all playing our own parts in a bigger system. On a massive public university campus where tens of thousands of students, faculty, and staff spend hours each day, it’s easy to forget that everyone has a unique voice and a personal story. My project will attempt to explore the threads that link us together and the differences that set us apart; it will display the stories of a number of different individuals and comment on the over-arching conclusions that can be drawn from their stories.
This essay will combine investigative journalism with personal narrative to provide a broader look at the University of Michigan, as seen by the individuals who contribute to it. It is intended to be a written series of interviews that, when combined, give insight into the community as a whole. It could be published by the Michigan Daily as its own column series, but the final work should also be able to stand on its own as a complete chapter. It will be approximately 20 pages in total length, including a number of interviews of 2-3 pages each, plus an introduction that discusses the connections and broader themes of the combined set of interviews. This introductory brief will give readers an opportunity to synthesize ideas and make their own connections as they consider the interviews both individually and as a group.
The audience for this piece on a specific level is the University of Michigan community, many members of whom will be inherently interested in hearing the perspectives of their colleagues. Though this community is only one specific educated group, anyone with intellectual curiosity would be a prime audience for reading this piece and exploring its deeper roots in not just the University of Michigan system, but in the higher education system as a whole.
Studs Terkel wrote a book called Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do, in which he compiles dozens of interviews into chapters. Each chapter speaks volumes on its own, and the full compilation illuminates the state of labor in the country at the time the book was written. The work was highly praised and well received, and a similar piece in the present day on the University scale has the potential to be equally influential.
Ultimately, although I’m coming into it with only my own limited angle, I am open to connecting with different perspectives and different people in an attempt to discover how they work together. As a senior undergraduate at Michigan, I have access to members of the community and can use my connections to reach out to others at the university. I’m coming in to it with an open mind and an open interest. I sincerely appreciate your support, and thank you for your time!