WMU, KVCC partner with StoryCorps to gather veterans' conversations

Contact: Cheryl Roland
Photo of StoryCorps van.

StoryCorps will visit WMU July 16-18.

KALAMAZOO—A national nonprofit oral history effort to record the voices of veterans, service members and military families is coming to Kalamazoo Tuesday through Thursday, July 16-18, to preserve and share the stories of Kalamazoo-area citizens.

All recording slots for the July 16-18 visit are now full. WMU appreciates the high level of interest in this project.

StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative is partnering with Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo Valley Community College to record one-on-one conversations between veterans and their family members, friends or colleagues. Some of the interviews will eventually be heard on National Public Radio's "Weekend Edition."

Participants will have 40 minutes of uninterrupted time to talk to each other about anything that is meaningful to them. StoryCorps will record the conversations on CDs, give a copy to the participants, and with the participants’ permission, archive the sessions at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., for use by future generations.

The recording sessions will take place on the WMU campus at WMUK, the University's public radio station. WMUK will be editing and airing a select number of interviews for local broadcast. 

StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative

StoryCorps' Military Voices Initiative, which is made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the Boeing Co., aims to record interviews with some 1,500 participants nationwide. The interviews have been broadcast on NPR since November 2012. One of the first conversations to be broadcast in the series featured WMUK station manager Gordon Bolar, who spoke about the death of his son, Matthew Bolar, in Iraq.

"The Military Voices Initiative will not only provide military families with a national platform to share their stories of service in their own voices, but will also enable civilians to understand more clearly the complex challenges of their bravery and sacrifice," says Dave Isay, founder and president of StoryCorps. "As veterans return to civilian life from Afghanistan and Iraq, we believe that the simple act of listening tells them how much they matter, and by preserving that conversation for posterity, we assure them that they won't be forgotten."

StoryCorps' mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, preserve and share their stories. Each week, millions of Americans listen to StoryCorps’ award-winning broadcasts on NPR's "Morning Edition."

For more information about the initiative, visit storycorps.org.

Corporation for Public Broadcasting

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private, nonprofit corporation created by Congress in 1967, is steward of the federal government’s investment in public broadcasting. It helps support the operation of more than 1,400 locally-owned and operated public television and radio stations nationwide, and is the largest source of funding for research, technology and program development for public radio, television and related online services. 

For more information about StoryCorps' visit to WMU, contact Tracey Quada, WMU director of the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs, at tracey.quada@wmich.edu or Elizabeth Lyons, KVCC's director of Veteran Services at alyons@kvccc.com or (269) 488-4873.