SHANTI BASU, Photo Editor — “We just want to start conversations. We don’t want to be intimidating or ‘woke,’ we’re about spreading information.”

Christien Kelly sits comfortably inside the student union. He grins broadly from the couches in front of student mailboxes on the second floor, catching the eye of each of his four friends-turned-collaborators in turn. “Recognize other lives,” someone chimes in. The fruit of their labor is just that.

 Globe Ups is a small group of students focused on student engagement with international stories, founded when he was a freshman in 2017 by Christien Kelly ‘20, a Data Analytics major with a concentration in Psychology from Toronto, Canada.

“It started with a lot of not knowing,” shared Kelly. He came to Denison to join the swim team, of which he is still apart. But since then, his interests have turned both domestic and outwards— to how as college students, we view the world beyond. “It began with the thought process of, I’m upset with how people blindly accept news as factual from any source.” Christien then worked with the Red Frame Lab to build out the thought into an idea into prototypes– carefully designed digital visuals that he began to share on a small but strategically positioned screen above the campus mailroom.

Since then, he’s had help from other students as well. 

Grace Reid ‘21, Aayush Nema ‘21, and Aditi Singh ‘22 came on board over the course of the past year, and Olivia Ewing ‘22 joined the team last week. They all help compile the slides, and typically meet a few times a week.

Having spent time on his own thinking about how listening to stories can dignify the human experience, Aayush Nema ‘21, who came to Denison from Bangalore, India, joined Kelly’s efforts after the two merged their ideas.

Singh ‘22, who grew up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, learned of their work through her friendship with Christien and joined after becoming fascinated with how it could affect other people on campus.

“I think it’s also a good way to inform myself,” added Olivia Ewing ‘22, of Atlanta, GA. “I can’t be a part of the conversation if I don’t have the tools or the background for it.”

From its humble origins above the mailroom, Kelly ‘20 spent the past summer establishing GlobeUps on Instagram. They now share their news primarily on social media, but the group has a screen running in the Red Frame Lab, and plenty of new ideas in the works. “There are other things we are wanting to try— we’re prototyping,” added Grace Reid ‘21, from Albany, NY, mentioning a potential podcast.

Although they agree that it can be hard as college students to know how to respond to global news and issues, the group enjoys the possibilities Globe Ups creates to drive the conversation. 

They’d also like to hold a global issues forum at some point, where students interested in having these conversations can go. Added Nema ‘21, “I think it would be nice because everyone comes from different experiences.” Bringing these divergent perspectives together could start a ripple effect on campus,” he mused, “…even with only a few students more aware than they were before.”

As for now, they just want to get your attention.

The Globe Ups team invites you to follow them on Instagram (@globe_ups), and to reach out to ([email protected]) if interested in learning more!