Alison Wright: a talented photographer for National Geographic, and also a controversial figure on the Nobles campus. Wright recently spoke in long assembly, sharing stories and photos from the many countries she has visited. Wright, named 2013 National Geographic Traveler of the Year, was an inspirational figure to have on campus.
Wright shared many of the near-death experiences she has overcome during her travels. Considering the many diseases, injuries, and even a fatal car crash that Wright endured, it amazed me to see her standing on the Lawrance stage that Wednesday morning.
Soon after her visit, Nobles students began pointing out many aspects of her presentation that they did not like. I heard students make comments such as, “she was disrespectful,” “she bragged too much,” and “she made inappropriate comments.” I was somewhat surprised by the immediate negative reaction because, instead, I saw Wright’s presentation as motivating.
Not only were Wright’s photographs outstanding, but she shared one-of-a-kind stories that I would not have been able to hear or learn from if Nobles had not invited her to speak. I left assembly impressed and fortunate for the opportunity to listen to Wright. Her experiences were unlike any I have heard before, and it was refreshing to hear a new voice on campus.
I was disappointed to hear the negative comments about long assembly drifting throughout the hallways. I acknowledge that Wright may have said things during her presentation that most Nobles faculty members and students wouldn’t speak onstage, but this is what made her voice unique.
Keep in mind that Wright has lived a different, incomparable life to many in the Nobles community, and therefore, her presentation was different for us. Lastly, hearing new voices is a primary reason for the existence of Nobles' long assemblies. The variety of voices that we are exposed to in long assembly make us all more worldly and informed.
Whether you enjoyed Wright’s presentation or not, I believe it is important to value her work. Many members of our community chose to focus on the way she presented herself rather than her photographs. While some deemed her comments inappropriate, I believe we should respect her passion and talent for photography, as well as the sacrifices she has made for her career.
Wright's work benefits all of us, showing us parts of the world we may otherwise never see. Her photographs bring awareness to a diverse abundance of communities and experiences around the world.
The immediate adverse reactions speak to the negative outlook we sometimes experience on the Nobles campus. I ask that members of our community take a step back and be willing to appreciate what Wright brought to Nobles. We all learned from her photographs and from her stories. I hope that Wright returns to Nobles in the coming years because, if not, future Nobles students will miss out on a meaningful learning experience. The lack of appreciation should not prevent other students from hearing Wright’s remarkable stories.
By Julia Palumbo, Copy Editor, December 2018