Tag Archives: Hilltop Views

World Storytelling Day at SEU a Success

I wrote this article originally for the Hilltop Views.

We listened to bedtime fairytales told by our parents when we were children, told scary stories to each other when we were teenagers and still enthusiastically divulge anecdotes to one another every day. In celebration of this age-old oral tradition, people from all over the state met to share their stories for World Storytelling Day.

World Storytelling Day is an international celebration of the art of oral storytelling that happens every March 21. This storytelling fête is the first of its kind to recognize and celebrate the oral tradition. In addition to allowing storytellers to forge new connections between one another, World Storytelling Day allows others to become a part of this tradition as well.

Sponsored by the Kappa Delta Pi International Education Society and produced by Tellers2 Productions, World Storytelling Day at St. Edward’s was a huge success. The event, held last Saturday during Spring Break, was one of only two sites in the United States hosting this international event. Over forty-eight countries participate in this massive, global event. The campus hosted a total of forty wandering storytellers, all of whom were gathered to share in the event that celebrates oral tradition. Some were professional storytellers, while others came simply to share their favorite family stories, fairytales and legends.

Planning for World Storytelling Day began in June 2008, with wheels really beginning to turn around December 2008. David Thompson, administrative coordinator of University Programs, explained that several considerations had to be made for the event, including who would act as sponsor. Kappa Delta Pi and their sponsor, David Hollier, graciously stepped in and helped Thompson run successful storytelling groups all day Saturday.

This year’s theme was “Neighbors,” with past themes including “Dreams,” “Bridges” and “Birds.” Beginning at the St. Edward’s seal, groups of storytellers shared tales, then moved to other locations throughout the day. Groups met at Sorin Oak, the Moody Atrium and Mabee Ballroom. Even university faculty and staff participated in a storytelling group called “St. Edward’s Shares,” where individuals shared personal anecdotes of their time at the campus, funny personal stories, legends about Father Sorin and so forth.

The evening concert, which featured locally, statewide, and nationally known tellers, wrapped up World Storytelling Day. There were four professional storytellers in attendance, including Lucinda Wise, Gene Helmick-Richardson, and Peggy Helmick-Richardson. Thompson, who was also one of the four professional storytellers at the event, was very excited about the turnout and success of the event. “It went really well. We were so excited.”

The event was free except for the evening concert, which asked that participants either pay $4 and/or donate four food items to be donated. Over 100 pounds of food was later presented to the Capital Area Food Bank.

Thompson plans to make World Storytelling Day at St. Edward’s an annual celebration. He already has plans about how to make the event a bigger success, such as inviting more professional storytellers, pushing for more sponsors, having more “zappy” publicity, and not holding the event during Spring Break. “The official [World Storytelling] day fell on Spring Break, so next year we’ll try to not do that. But it will still be in March.”

When asked what storytelling is and why World Storytelling Day is so important, Thompson fervidly explained that keeping the oral tradition is important. “Storytelling is the world’s oldest known performance. It passes beliefs, morals, customs, and history between and among groups. It keeps alive families and nations.”


Leave a comment

Filed under Austin, St. Edward's University

Austinites Hit the Wall–The Rock Wall

This article was originally written for the Hilltop Views.

Austinites have hit the trails, pavement, and lakes for their physical workouts and outdoor activities over the last few years, but now they’re hitting the wall—the rock wall.

On their site, Austin Rock Gym asserts that rock climbing promotes confidence, coordination and balance, muscle development, teamwork, problem solving skills, and much more in a safe, supportive, and fun environment.

When asked why she rock climbs, sophomore Amy Frugé said replied that she was an “adrenaline junky always looking for new adventures and challenges.” She continues, “Climbing is my joy! After a bad day, one of the best things to lift my spirits is going out for a climb. It’s stress-relieving; strength, coordination, and balance-building; and a great excuse to enjoy a beautiful day outside!”

Junior Brett Powers agreed, “I had so much fun the first time [I went rock climbing] that I have been going back ever since. Rock climbing has a lot of health benefits for the mind and body. It is a great way to gain functional strength. It can also be an exhilarating mental challenge, mixing adrenaline with extreme focus. For this very reason, climbing can also be an excellent stress reliever or a great way to get your mind off things. After a few hour of climbing, you will often find yourself mentally and physically exhausted without ever realizing how hard you worked.”

[R]ock climbing promotes confidence, coordination and balance, muscle development, teamwork, problem solving skills, and much more in a safe, supportive, and fun environment.

For those with hesitations in regards to safety, Austin Rock Gym’s site assures customers that the gym is a safety-oriented facility. Their walls are professionally engineered and certified by the Climbing Wall Industry Group and all of their equipment is inspected daily.

Austin Rock Gym also offers various classes, including courses in basic rock climbing, indoor climbing, and outdoor climbing. You may also opt for private climbing lessons where you will receive one-on-one instruction by a certified, experienced climbing instructor.

“To get started in Austin,” Frugé recommends, “I would suggest going through a belay safety course at Austin Rock Gym. You will learn the commands of belaying another climber (using the rope and equipment correctly while another climber is on the wall). They [also] provide you with rental shoes and [a] harness for the day.” Powers also enjoys going to Austin Rock Gym, “It is a big indoor facility with rock climbing walls of all varieties and grades.”

Powers mentions, however, that a downside to climbing is it “can be somewhat expensive if you don’t have your own gear and need instruction before you rent. However, at Austin Rock Gym, you will get your money’s worth because gear, an introduction lesson to belaying, and a full day spent there are all included. [But otherwise], rock climbing is a great way to work out, stress-relieve, and spend time with friends.”

Frugé endorses rock climbing enthusiastically, commending the pastime for its physical, as well as mental, workout. “I like to look at [rock climbing] with the connection of fear and awe. The more fear you overcome, the more [in] awe you [are]. Meaning, the higher you climb, the greater the rewards.”

Austin Rock Gym Locations
North Austin Rock Gym | 8300 N. Lamar, Suite B102 Austin, TX 78753
South Austin Rock Gym | 4401 Freidrich Ln., Suite 300 Austin, TX 78744

Web Site

Walk-In Day Rates
Belay Safety Course (Required for First-Time Climbers and Includes Day Pass/Rental Equipt.) | $25
Adult Day Pass | $13
Local Student Day Pass (with Valid Student ID) | $11

1 Comment

Filed under Austin, Health, Journalism, Sports, St. Edward's University, World Wide Web