Humans of Oshkosh highlights community

Calvin Skalet, News Editor

UW Oshkosh students and the greater Oshkosh community came together and celebrated the Humans of Oshkosh Celebration of Community and Stories project.

The event, which was held at Reeve Memorial Union on Tuesday night, had UWO Quest III professor and project editor Grace Lim and her students who worked on the project speak about their experience with it.

The event is intended to replicate the internationally renowned Humans of New York, where stories are told about random people on the streets of New York.

Lim said the importance of storytelling can relate to everyone, not just journalism majors.

“I tell my students, most of whom are business or nursing majors, that regardless of what field they enter into, they need be able to engage with all types of people,” Lim said. “We all need to be able to communicate and share stories about ourselves that connect us as people.”

Lim said it puts a smile on her face when she hears positive regards from the public after all of the hard work and dedication that was put forth.

“The most rewarding part of this project is seeing the result of my students’ hard work appreciated in a public way,” Lim said. “I’m also delighted when I hear from people who attend the event and go through the exhibit say they are impressed by the quality of the work and that they have learned something from the stories.”

UWO sophomore Elizabeth Mason was one of the students who participated in the event. Mason said their job was to find anyone in the Oshkosh community and find out more about their life.

“We went around and basically talked to strangers about their life and tried to find out something about them that has changed them,” Mason said.

Mason said approaching strangers was an interesting experience, but that’s what they had to do.

“It was awkward at times,” Mason said. “We had to go up to a store or a local business and we just had to approach strangers until we found a story.”

Joshua and Rebekah Knuth were both featured in this year’s event for their involvement in the Mandalorian Mercs Costume Club, a non-profit organization that is one of the largest global Star Wars fan club organizations.

Members of the Mandalorian Mercs create and wear costumes of Mandalorian Armor that replicate characters from the famous Star Wars film series.

Joshua, a UWO alumnus, said the idea originated from a car Rebekah owned that reminded them of Star Wars characters.

“Becky had a car that looked like Boba Fett, and then we traveled with that and made costumes,” Joshua said. “Then we met up with several other people who were doing this in the Wisconsin area.”

The Mandalorian Mercs will often do charity work where they dress up in their Star Wars costumes and go to events. Joshua said the charity work done by this organization is the reason he joined.

“Seeing the charity work that everyone here was doing is really what intrigued us,” Joshua said. “This is a group of really awesome people who are just doing this for charity, . . . giving up their weekends for this club.”

Joshua said the most rewarding part of his job is seeing the joy on kid’s faces when they run up to him while he is in costume.

“I like it when other people have smiles on their faces,” Joshua said. “Seeing kids run up to me with a smile on their face really makes me happy.”