Twelve stories, 12 personal and unique perspectives. That’s what readers will discover within the new book “Many Voices, One DU.”
A compilation of nonfiction stories from University of Denver alumni, faculty and students, the book is part of One Book, One DU — a common reading initiative that launched last summer as part of the University’s DU IMPACT 2025 strategic plan.
“Many Voices” is a follow up to the One Book project in which incoming DU freshmen — after reading Thomas King’s “The Truth About Stories”— responded to a prompt that, in part, asked them to tell a story of a time they encountered something unfamiliar.
After receiving the responses and realizing there was a missed opportunity, members of DU’s Writing Program decided to showcase some of the stories in a book. In addition to publishing a few of the stories they had already received, the group put out a call for submissions last fall to members of the DU community, giving them a chance to be part of “Many Voices, One DU.”
“If we wanted to truly capture One DU, we needed to expand this project beyond the First-Year Seminar Program. We needed to capture the experiences of all members of our community,” says LP Picard, a teaching assistant professor in the Writing Program. “That’s how we came up with the idea to invite upperclassmen, graduate students, alumni, faculty and staff to respond to this same shared prompt and collect their stories in a book. Out of many voices we could illustrate what it means to be one DU.”
Picard, who supports making writing more visible on campus, says that the five freshmen stories chosen for the collection were substantially revised, since some began as shorter essays. The additional stories came from the call for submissions, and Picard hopes to include stories from DU staff in future volumes
Authors for the first volume include: Rory Moore (BA ’17); Ciera Blehm; Nick Tarasewicz; Walid Hedidar; Gillian Schultz; Miciah Lewis; Alex Young; Andy Fox; Halena Kapuni-Reynolds (MA ’15); Jessi Jones (BA ’10); Graduate School of Social Work Assistant Dean and Professor Ann Petrila; and Daniels College of Business Adjunct Professor Bud Bilanich.
“When we began this project, our goal was to celebrate the vibrant voices that combine to form our community,” Picard says. “These 12 stories reflect the diverse experiences and perspectives of our students, faculty and alumni. The collection also represents the collaborative spirit of DU.”
In his story “Magic is Real,” Tarasewicz, a first-year DU student, talks about his love of the craft and the moment he realized magic was more than just trickery but also about the art of feeling.
“The ‘Many Voices’ program allows DU students from different backgrounds to answer a singular question through multiple perspectives, fostering an understanding that we all are different in our own ways and that there can be more than one answer to a single question,” he says. “To me, it is an invigorating feeling knowing that I was lucky enough to be included in this project and that the story was well-liked enough to warrant it. I look forward to seeing how this program evolves over the next few years.”
For Moore, who penned the story “Inside the Mind of a Black Man,” the project was an opportunity to express his feelings about coming to DU and the experiences and obstacles he faced as a black student at a predominately white institution.
“I wanted to express my sentiments about coming to DU and my experience in the Excelling Leaders Institute, as well as being a part of the multicultural groups on campus like the Black Student Alliance,” Moore says. “These were crucial, as they have fostered my excellence at the University of Denver. I wanted to be able to also give a picture to those reading on what it is like being a person of color at DU and how one persists amongst this adversity. I was able to highlight key experiences that resonated with me and have impacted my life tremendously.”
The book also includes a forward by DU Chancellor Rebecca Chopp. In it she writes: “Stories can lift us up and empower us to take charge of our lives. Others’ breakthroughs can and ought to inspire us. This volume contains just a few of the thousands of stories waiting to be heard.”
The book is free and is available in limited quantities in paperback; a digital version is also available. Requests for a paperback version can be emailed to OneBook@du.edu. A second volume is being planned and calls for submissions will be sent out this fall.