Writers, poetry lovers and literature enthusiasts will gather in Burnett House next Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. for The Moth Radio Hour, a live storytelling performance event. A tradition at Bowdoin before Covid-19, this event was reestablished by three students this year.
Edmundo Ortiz Alvarez ’23, Kaitlin Weiss ’25 and Tess Mooney ’26 organized the event for this year with the theme of “Windows and Mirrors.” Students could submit any stories to be shared at the event, the only requirements being that they are true and align with the theme. Weiss chose this theme because she wanted students to reflect on their experiences in a new way.
“We thought [“Windows and Mirrors”] was a cool way to think about reflection as far as looking out at the people around you and trying to reflect about your surroundings and why you see the world the way you see it,” Weiss said. “Or looking inwards and having that introspective form of reflection.”
Weiss hopes the event gives students the opportunity to share their own stories and get to know their peers better.
“I hope we can just learn about different people who are in this space together in this campus in a way that enables a level of vulnerability, and also [provides] the opportunity to have a mic in a way that doesn’t really exist on campus unless you’re having a meal with someone,” Weiss said. “It’s just essential to get to hear people tell their stories, and especially from somebody that you might know very closely.”
During his first year, Alvarez attended the Moth Radio Hour event in the Park Row Apartments basement and met Assistant Director of Wellness Services Kate Nicholson.
“She shared a story that was incredibly powerful about learning to listen to your instincts. I was just amazed by that story, and it was extraordinary,” Alvarez said. “That was probably one of my favorite events at Bowdoin before Covid.”
But coming back to Bowdoin after Covid, Alvarez noticed that The Moth was no longer an event at the College. He decided to reach out to Nicholson to bring back the tradition.
“I was not having it because The Moth had been such an important event for me as a first-year coming into Bowdoin and I wanted it to come back,” Alvarez said. “[Nicholson] brought the passion and we organized [the event last year] within a week and a half…. It was very scrambled because it was the end of the year, but we both wanted it to happen and we’re very passionate about it.”
Mooney enjoyed the experience of organizing the event this year alongside Alvarez and Weiss.
“I was excited to join with the momentum that they already had going, the experience is great and I definitely think I made two great friends with my co-organizers,” Mooney said.
Mooney did not experience The Moth pre-Covid, but she still believes this event is important to the campus community.
“It’s a system of support to hear people in the community’s lived experiences, and be really supportive in that community of writing,” Mooney said. “I don’t think that I have many opportunities to sit down and be intentional about that at Bowdoin within my academic week.”
Looking to the future, Weiss hopes The Moth continues as a tradition at Bowdoin after she graduates.
“I’m excited to see how this year goes and then … be able to think about how this is going to continue when I graduate,” Weiss said. “I think if we were to establish it as a tradition at Bowdoin again, I would want to figure out the best way to ensure that [the event] doesn’t have to do with individual organizers. It has more to do with the actual event itself being something that people look forward to.”