Storytelling school

Soup & Hope creates connection through storytelling

Celebrating its 15th year at Cornell, the 2022 Soup & Hope Speaker Series returned to Sage Chapel after more than a year on Zoom with stories of transformation and empowerment – ​​a theme that resonated with attendees as the world continues to grow and change through the pandemic.

“I am who I am because someone loved me,” said Zebadiah Hall, director of Student Disability Services, which opened the series’ latest program on March 24. “I am who I am because someone supported me. I am who I am because someone had hope for me.

As in previous years, the 2022 Soup & Hope season featured uplifting — and sometimes painful — personal stories from Cornell staff, faculty, and students, highlighting the journey to finding and celebrating hope. But the 2022 program had a bit more weight and meaning with the return of a personal connection, a shared meal of soup and bread and a sense of community among those in attendance at Sage Chapel.

“These past two years of the pandemic have posed profound challenges for so many in our community, and these challenges have been exacerbated by the fact that so many have had to suffer in isolation, away from their communities and systems. of support,” said Oliver Goodrich. , Associate Dean of Students for Spirituality and the Search for Meaning and Chair of the Soup & Hope Committee. “One of the real joys of this year’s Soup & Hope series has been coming together in person, albeit with care and caution, and reconnecting with friends, mentors and colleagues.”

Over its 15 years, the series has brought together nearly 70 speakers, seeking to inspire Cornell and the local community with stories that expose their vulnerability. This year’s series featured clinicians and staff from Cornell Health and the Division of Human Resources, as well as faculty members and students.

While the presenters’ stories and experiences are unique to their own diverse backgrounds, Goodrich said, “One of the common themes has been learning to reclaim the hard-won wisdom that can emerge from pain and suffering.

“Each of our speakers shared how they have learned over time that hardship does not define who they are, and in response to life’s difficulties, they have discovered previously unknown resilience, wisdom and perspective,” said he declared.

In his speech, Sokhnadiarra Ndiaye ’24 said vulnerability does not define you, but can lead you to see your purpose. She talked about inspiring others to meet life’s challenges, remembering that they are only here for a while.

“That’s the magic of Soup & Hope,” said Victor Younger, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at the Stephanie School of Hospitality Administration and Peter Nolan, committee member and mentor of Ndaiye’s Soup & Hope. . “Every story can inspire, challenge or lead you to see beyond the moment.”

“We all have something to share and it is a privilege for our colleagues to be vulnerable in the moment and to share messages of hope and inspiration,” said Kristine DeLuca of the Soup & Hope planning committee.

Soup & Hope is co-sponsored by the Office of Spirituality and Meaningmaking and Cornell United Religious Work; Cornell dining room; and Cornell Health. Recorded stories – and soup recipes – can be found at Soup & Hope website.

Amy Gaulke is Director of Communications for Student and Campus Life.