Global Neighborhood Association tells stories at March House Dinner

Brooke Buffington of the Student Professional Development Center shared her story with students and asked them to think about their own stories.

The Global Neighborhood Association held a House Dinner for students, faculty, and staff on Tuesday, March 7. The speaker was Brooke Buffington, associate director of career services for the Love School of Business. Buffington led a dynamic program by interspersing elements of her personal story with discussion questions that prompted students to consider their own stories. 

Buffington’s story is truly inspirational. She was a gymnast at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A friend from the team became an actress, and suggested that they write a screenplay together. Neither woman had ever written a screenplay. After 24 drafts, they had a script and began a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for filming. They were able to shoot the film in an amazing 12 days and handle all the post-production, despite their lack of experience.

The film, “Chalk It Up,” is the story of a student who decides to start a women’s gymnastics team at her college. The film has been picked up by Netflix and is in now being dubbed for international audiences. It is now available from Netflix, Amazon, iTunes and Belk Library.  (See the recent E-net story here.)

Buffington explained that she had always been fascinated by stories and storytelling. She asked the students to list the stories they consume. Students mentioned social media sources like YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram as well as the more traditional story mediums of books and television.

Then Buffington asked students to think about the stories they tell. She asked students to consider the lens through which stories are told and consumed. Students shared examples of when they heard stories from people of different backgrounds and how the storyteller’s perspective affected their perceptions of events.

Buffington offered some of the lessons she learned from her film. She advised students to admit what they don’t know and ask for help. She told the audience to believe in their stories and have a passion for them. Finally, she recommended that we think about the stories we consume. Are we choosing the stories intentionally and do they benefit us? Stories do more than entertain; they have the power to change us too.

The next event in the Global Neighborhood Film Series will be shown Tuesday, March 28, at 7 p.m. in Global Commons 103. And the final Global Neighborhood House Dinner of the semester will be held on Tuesday, April 4, in Lakeside.