Campus Chit-Chat

| Erika Hall reporter |

People see in pictures, think in pictures and describe those pictures with words. So, why not tell stories in pictures? Thats describes Pecha Kucha, which is Japanese for “chit-chat.”
Pecha Kucha was devised so that people can share their stories in pictures and do so in 20 slides at 20 seconds a slide or for a total of six minutes and 40 seconds.
Pecha Kucha is a popular global event that showcases the art of the fast-paced visual presentations on any topic of the presenters’ choosing.
Students from Girard Middle School, Pittsburg High, PSU, as well as PSU faculty and staff, presented stories in room S102 on Friday, April 25, at the Kansas Technology Center.
Twelve presenters, five of whom were from Girard Middle School, one student from Pittsburg High, PSU staff members, residents and the Pittsburg city planner were among the performers.
A variety of stories were told, stretching from the history and importance of cities presented by Pittsburg’s city planner to the outward manifestation of a PSU librarian’s personality based on the items on her desk.
Megan Corrigan, a PSU staff member who recently decided to return to school herself, said that she joined the Pecha Kucha presentations because she wanted to become a more entertaining and relatable presenter. As the study-abroad coordinator for PSU, Corrigan traveled to Crimea and used her experiences there as her inspiration. She showed photos from her time there.
Another presenter was Charly McCully, a 14-year-old Girard Middle School student who gave a presentation different than the others. She highlighted the statistics and realities of human sex trafficking and slavery.
It was the hardest hitting performance of the night, showing images of prostitution, child labor, and even listed major businesses that are still using sweatshops around the world. She posed the lasting question, “Did slavery really end in 1863?”
“In 2007 the human trafficking business made $32 billion. That’s more than Nike, Starbucks and Google all combined that year,” said McCully. “Anyone can report this problem, maybe not so much locally but it is happening, and it’s happening everywhere.”
Luke Martin and Cooper Brown, two 14-year-old Girard Middle School students, tied their presentations to their own interests.
Luke presented the history of Kansas City baseball, a topic dear to his heart. Hardly looking at his notecards, he presented a fast-paced, fun presentation on the topic. He ended his segment by informing the audience that currently the Royals were up by two in the top of the third inning, and the audience met the news with applause and laughter.
Cooper spoke about bocce ball, a game he played much of his life with his family. He explained that his Italian heritage is what got him interested in the Italian game. And, his father and grandfather always played together.
After his grandfather died, Cooper took his place in a bocce tournament at age 7. After winning his first tournament, he said, he believed his grandfather was watching over them that day.
Mark Johnson, one of the organizers of PSU’s Pecha Kucha, says that the event celebrates the art of getting to the point.
“You know I’m a university professor and sometimes we like to hold our students captive for hours with our words,” says Johnson. “… but what if instead I narrowed that down into a few minutes, and it was so inspiring with what I showed and said in that six minutes and 40 seconds, that they would be willing to stick around for three hours and have a conversation afterwards. That way it’s their choice to stick around and learn and not me making them do it.”

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