Scranton’s Story, Our Nation’s Story 'I Am Scranton' Campaign Launches

The NEH-funded project offers a new way for Scrantonians to share their stories.
Scranton’s Story, Our Nation’s Story 'I Am Scranton' Campaign Launches

This Thursday, March 3, the “Scranton’s Story, Our Nation’s Story” project is launching its “I am Scranton” social media campaign. This campaign will highlight various Scrantonians by sharing a part of their “Scranton Story” across the project’s social media platforms. This campaign is a part of the project’s oral history project, a multitiered story gathering effort that is collecting stories in various formats throughout the duration of the project.  

Started in the fall of 2021, the “Scranton’s Story, Our Nation’s Story” project is an effort led by The University of Scranton with multiple community-partners and supported by a generous grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to explore Scranton’s history, culture and role in the nation at large. This project aims to tell the story of our nation through the lens of Scranton, Pennsylvania, through eight project themes each focusing on a vital thread of the tapestry of this city and nation. A key component of capturing this story is amplifying the voices, experiences, and ideas of the people of Scranton, both those that live here today and those that have important connections to our city.  

The “I am Scranton” social media campaign is the first part of the project’s story-gathering effort. To participate, follow the “Scranton’s Story, Our Nation’s Story” project on Facebook and Instagram @ourscrantonstory and on Twitter @scrantonstory. Each week a new “Scranton Story” profile will be released. Community members, alumni, and anyone with a connection to Scranton are encouraged to follow along and create their own post to share a part of their “Scranton Story” using the hashtag #IAmScranton. Project team members will be reposting and sharing stories with this hashtag.  

The “I am Scranton” social media profiles were collected with the support of students in two community-based learning (CBL) communications courses. In the fall of 2021, students in communications faculty member Dr. Brian Snee’s COMM 240 Research Methods course worked to collect and format the initial set of “I am Scranton” interviews and also to design the accompanying social media graphics.  

"The 'I am Scranton' social media project offered communication and media majors an exciting opportunity to do real work for a real client. That the project was about the history and residents of a great city that we all share and love was indeed a wonderful bonus.  We can't wait to see the final product!"  said Dr. Snee.  

During this spring semester, students in Communications faculty Dr. Kimberly Pavlick’s COMM 224 Media Writing course are working to research and produce additional profiles that will be added to the “I am Scranton” campaign starting in April 2022.  Pavlick said having students participate in community-based learning takes them off campus and into the community, which is valuable training, particularly since many of us have been siloed in our own social circles during the pandemic. 

"Learning to talk to people you don't know and genuinely taking an interest in them allows students to learn and grow in a different way from traditional class learning. We learn from every person we interact with," Pavlick said. 

Offering students an opportunity to further engage with the city of Scranton and its people has proved to be a rewarding experience for students supporting the "I am Scranton" campaign. In addition to the work by students in CBL Communications courses, James Leonard '22, communications intern in the Office of Community and Government Relations is working to finalize profiles and support the social media release of the campaign. 

"I think it is a great privilege to be able to work on a project like this. During my four years here, I have always tried to embrace the Scranton community and I have learned that the people here are extremely passionate about their city are seeing it grow. Even during the short time I've lived in the city, I have seen it make so much progress and based on what the people I've worked with throughout this project have said, they see the same and will continue to work hard to make that vision a reality." said James Leonard. 

In addition to the social media campaign, there is also an online submission form that can be found on the project's website where users can submit their Scranton Story in multiple formats. This online form offers a chance to share your story in a short statement, in a face or place via photo upload, in a clip via video upload, or in a “Dear Scranton,” letter. Submissions to this form may be shared to the Oral Histories page on the “Scranton’s Story, Our Nation’s Story” website and will also be shared on the project’s social media pages.  

“Through this project, we want to honor and share the experiences and perspectives of many different Scrantonians. We have been inspired by Colum McCann, the Irish-American author who has visited Scranton on different occasions, who says, ‘The one true democracy we have is storytelling. It goes across borders, boundaries, genders, wealth, race -- everyone has a story to tell,’” said Julie Schumacher Cohen, assistant vice president for Community Engagement and Government Affairs and the Scranton’s Story, Our Nation’s Story project director.   

In addition to the social media campaign and online submission form, additional storytelling opportunities will continue throughout the duration of the project. These efforts include pop-up story collection opportunities that will take place at outdoor events and festivals during the summer of 2022 along with a series of spotlight stories that will be shared at the culmination of the project in the fall of 2023.  

For more information about this project, please visit  

To receive project updates and reminders, join the project email list by emailing  

You can submit your own Scranton Story at

This project has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.  Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in these events do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

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