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Becca Brown ’17 with Margaret Uselman ’17 (left)

Instagram Tribute Celebrates St. Norbert Friendships

As Becca Brown ’17 was closing out her final weeks at St. Norbert College, she sought out an appropriate way to pay tribute to her friends, staff members and instructors – the people who had made a difference in her life during the past four years.

She came up with 30daysofknights, a special digital storytelling project she posted on Instagram. For every day of the 30 leading up to her graduation, Brown shared an image and a short write-up about the day’s featured person.

“I wanted to pay tribute to the people who played such an important role in my life,” says Brown, who graduated with degrees in sociology and communications with a media emphasis. “There are special friends, teachers … I wanted this to also be a scrapbook of sorts to recall my time here.”

For example, she featured Mara Brecht (Theology & RS), on one of the days. Brown took a photo of Brecht and posted a short paragraph explaining why she made a difference in her time at St. Norbert. Part of it reads: “She is a professor that makes you want to succeed in the class because she pushes you to have high expectations for yourself. Not only did I learn from her in the classroom, but I also learn from the way she carries herself.”

Brown says some of the inspiration for the project came from Mark Glantz (Communication & Media Studies). Glantz, or “Coach” as Brown and most other students call him, taught a digital storytelling class, but Brown was not able to take it. She said the Instagram project was her own way to plan, execute and share a digital story.

Brown took her subject’s photos in surroundings that correlated with how she wanted to remember them, such as drinking coffee. One friend appears with her cat. 

“When I was coming up with the people to feature, I thought about people who I am excited to see everyday,” she says. “While hanging out or talking with them, I would tell them about my project and ask if I could take their photo.”

From there, she put together her write-ups and began figuring out a posting schedule. For example, there were two friends she hung out with usually on Sunday nights so she posted their dual image on a Sunday.

Her friend Margaret Uselman ’17 was featured on the 30th day of the Instagram project. Says Brown: “She is my best friend and one of a few who have supported this project from when it was only an idea. Every Tuesday and Thursday, Margaret sits on the bench [ in Boyle Hall between room 210 and 209, above] doing homework in between her classes, which lines up with my class schedule as well. So no matter how busy we got, we both knew where the other one would be on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We have both laughed and cried on that bench throughout the semester.”

As someone who is looking to land a job in public relations or social media, the 30daysofknights project also serves as an example of Brown’s work. “I can show this to potential employers as a project I planned and executed,” she says.

To get out the word about her project, Brown told friends, who then followed the account. She also tagged people she featured, which then brought in their friends and the circle grew.

While Brown is happy people enjoyed her project, she says, “I viewed this Instagram project as a way to archive my memories, and all the great people I met at St. Norbert.”

June 6, 2017