A Pretty Good Start• October 25, 2005
An hour earlier, Russ Harbaugh ’06 feared that the decision to move the screening of his film to the larger, 300-seat Salter Hall would prove an embarrassment. Would that many Wabash students, faculty, and staff members really show up on a spring evening to watch a student film?
When the lights came up following that premiere showing of Beside Myself: Wabash Men and Co-education, the English major and Little Giant quarterback stepped to the stage before an applauding standing-room-only audience clogging the aisles and eager to ask their questions.
"The turnout exceeded any expectations I had," Harbaugh said. "I’ll remember this night for a long, long time."
Inspired by weekend trips to the University of Evansville to visit the twin brother who left Wabash after his freshman year, Harbaugh found parallels between the College’s flirtations with co-education and his own personal struggles attending a college for men. A balanced and illuminating documentary, his film never was the call for co-education that some on campus had feared, but a deeply personal work encouraging an open and honest discussion of what it means to be a man at Wabash—the strengths and the struggles.
"I feel like I’m doing something with this film that matters to a lot of people, and using my role as a football player to spark the discussion," said the Wabash senior, who spent the summer interning at the San Francisco Film Festival. "We’re sitting on a laboratory for masculine studies here, so it’s something we ought to talk about openly and honestly."
Invigorated by the supportive reception for what he called "the most involved, productive experience I’ve ever had," Harbaugh was asked how the Wabash community might move that discussion forward. He smiled, "All of you showing up like this for the screening of a student film—that’s a pretty good start!"