It always feels good to see a project through start to finish. After weeks of sending executive board members to planning meetings and designing visuals and concepts, Sustained Dialogue’s involvement in Tunnel of Oppression is finally a reality! Sustained Dialogue is the student organization that takes up most of my time and love. Our aim is to promote and educate people about the importance of inclusive communities, and how these can be constructed and sustained through dialogue.
A little background on Tunnel of Oppression (with permission from Ms. Phenocia Bauerle): Tunnel of Oppression is an interactive event that highlights contemporary issues of oppression. It is designed to introduce participants to the concepts of oppression, privilege, and power. Participants are guided through a series of scenes or exhibits that aim to educate and challenge them to think more deeply about issues of oppression. At the end of the tour, participants are provided with the opportunity to discuss their experiences with each other. Facilitators help participants reflect on their experiences and put their newfound knowledge to use in their everyday lives.
Sustained Dialogue’s room is a representation of the oppression surrounding identity. Along with advertisement and information about our semi-annual De-Stereotype Me Day (happening this week as well), we have created an environment that allows people to understand the ways in which they judge other people’s identities and the ways that others judge theirs. On the walls are photos of random MSU students and questions such as “What do you think this student is majoring in?” “Do you think this student is a first-generation college student?” “Do you think this student comes from a wealthy background?” etc. Paper covers a table in the middle of the room with markers with which people can write down their initial reactions based on the images. On another wall are images of the memes that have littered facebook, twitter and Pinterest this semester. They show generalizations and cultural perceptions for groups like ‘writers,’ ‘science students,’ ‘yogis,’ ‘vegetarians,’ ‘Republicans,’ and ‘Mexicans.’ Mirrors are propped up around the entire display to remind participants how they see themselves and how others see them.
Other groups involved include American Indian Council, Baha’i Campus Club, Counseling and Psychological Services, Diversity Awareness Office, Family and Graduate Housing, Interhall RHA., NECO, Queer-Straight Alliance, Residence Life – Diversity and Social Justice Committee, Students Against Sexual Assault, Students for Choice, Students for Life, Students in spring Sculpture classes, The VOICE Center, and The Women’s Center.
Take the tour! Come to Tunnel of Oppression!