English 1100 students at Elon and Alamance Community College students gathered to share at the event hosted in LaRose Student Commons on April 13.
Elon University students were given the opportunity to form deeper connections and collaborate with students at Alamance Community College to create personal profiles of each other at the “Everybody Has a Story” event on Thursday, April 13. The project was a part of Associate Professor of English Heather Lindenman’s ENG 1100 course.
“Putting this connection into words can mean so much,” Lindenman said. “Not just for the person who it’s about, but also for the writer.”
This project and event were held once in November 2019. After a hiatus due to the pandemic, Elon first-year students were given the opportunity to immerse themselves within the community once again.
For the last month, Lindenman’s students have traveled 15 minutes down the road to ACC every Thursday morning. There, they spent hours asking each other thought-probing, personal questions to craft their stories and translate the conversation to paper. After their visits were complete, they completed the drafts of their profiles and shared them at the “Everybody Has a Story” event. Their final products were posted around the room, and each pair stood by their work at the end of the event to take a picture, answer questions, and share.
The assignment wasn’t viewed as a simple task to complete for a grade but rather a chance for students to get to know someone for who they are beneath the surface. Better yet, they learned more about someone that they might’ve never met outside of the “Elon bubble.”
“No matter who you are, or what’s going on, I think we can go far in life, especially with the polarization of things today, when we tell our stories,” said Jennifer Mock, director of Academic Career and Readiness at ACC.
Kendall Somol ’26 and ACC student Marcela Vallejo shared their profiles during a reading at the event. “Marcella refers to herself as a survivor who strives to be strong enough to depend on herself and be independent,” Somol said
Somol’s work elaborated on the struggles that the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted upon Vallejo and her family. After they moved to the United States, the world went into lockdown right when she and her daughter were beginning to learn English. This motivated Vallejo to enroll in English as a second language classes at ACC to help her daughter and provide a better education for herself.
Pairs continued to share their stories throughout the event, with a special intermission of a Zumba class led by instructor Yholima Vargas Pedroza of Alamance Community College.
Maleah Proctor ’26 offered concluding remarks about her experience working on this project. “Not only did I learn more about myself but I was inspired by the resilience and humility of my partner,” Proctor said.
This project, which Lindenman developed in collaboration with ACC faculty and co-taught with ACC instructor Kelly Howes, helps emphasize the importance of community and opens our eyes to the perspective and stories of those around us.
“There are so many forms in life to create community, and this is one of them,” Pedroza said. “This is a good example of how we build a smaller world around us and how we give permission to those around us to welcome us, as we welcome them.”