Boxes and Walls tackles social issues


Mohammad Tazin

Sara Rubeck, junior ACS major chemistry major interacting with the display.

Boxes and Walls: The Oppression Experience is an interactive museum of social issues that Southwest Hall organizes every other year. The staff decorates a suite and conference room to represent different social issues in the media such as body image for men and women, disabilities, LGBTQ and gender issues. Approximately 300 people come to visit the display each year the residence hall puts it on.

“It’s a cool opportunity to see what’s happening [in the world] and see a different perspective,” Resident Director Kathryn Peck said.

The museum starts out with an exhibit where you can see how certain phrases can affect people differently than the way that you intended it to. You are encouraged to “stomp out the hate” by channeling all your frustrations into one stomp.

“I hear a lot of that [offensive phrases],” Lisa Hadenfeldt, junior business management major said. “I feel like I should start thinking twice about what I have to say around people. I don’t want to diminish people.”

One of the social issues that the resident directors wanted to focus on this year was male body image. Peck said, everyone experiences insecurities, not just women. In the suite’s kitchen, pictures of male celebrities and quotes lined the cabinets explaining how some men feel pressure to live up to stereotypical masculinity.

“There are other people that see me that might think that I have to live up to those pressures,” Peter Wilkinson, junior elementary education major said. “I see those things, but I never think about what they mean to me.  It’s weird because there are pressures but I never feel like they’re understood.”

Each room of the suite was decorated to represent a different issue. Each area had a small activity that encouraged you to write words of positivity or how the particular issue related to you.

“You come to college to learn and grow as a person and to meet new people. You have to know the way that you’re affecting people, and you might as well make a good impact on who you surround yourself with.  This really helped,” Wilkinson said.

Boxes and Walls: The Oppression Experience is taking place Feb. 1-3 from 6- 8 p.m. in Southwest Hall.

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