Boxes and Walls: An exhibit on oppression

UW-Platteville’s Department of Residence Life brings awareness to students on various issues of oppression that individuals face through an interactive museum experience

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The Department of Residence Life at UW-Platteville created an interactive museum in Southwest Hall,  Boxes and Walls,  to bring awareness to the students of the various oppression individuals face. Each of the twelve rooms displayed a theme, and attendees were guided quietly from room to room.

“This is a department initiative that Residence Life does every other year. We look at what is currently going on in the world and on campus and choose topics based on that information. We also often get to work on topics we are passionate about,” Bridgeway resident director Rebecca Groves said.

Room one presented racial and cultural awareness with over 2,500 slurs taped to tables on display underneath insensitive comments.

“I want more topics in the future. We spent many hours developing what we presented this year, but we can always cover more issues,” Morrow Hall resident director Olivia Kopecky said.

Room two was a mockup of the White House with presidential facts like their political views and most notable event during their time in office was, covering almost the entire space. Giant cut outs of an angry elephant and donkey as well as a desk, phone and two flags were left untouched.

Room three presented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and illegal immigrants. One wall showed the requirements to immigrate to the United States. A display titled “Terrorists and Illegals, Democrats Best Friends” showcased the opposing side to illegal immigration.

“I worked on the immigration room and I wanted to include some things that are happening right now like DACA, the deportation of illegal immigrants, and building a wall. Resident Director Lawrence and I included the naturalization test, gave history of immigrants to the states through Ellis Island and included history on Christopher Columbus,” Brockert Hall resident director Savion Kirk said.

Room four took place inside a suite where every room was displayed differently with the main focus being feminism and discrimination that women experience. The kitchen and front door displayed the Pink Tax, explaining how feminine products (i.e. tampons, sanitary pads, shampoo, razors and body wash) cost more than masculine products. Sexual assault facts and cases covered the fridge showing the broad spectrum of what goes underneath the umbrella term of sexual assault. Two contrasting cases posted on the fridge were the Brock Turner and Cyntonia Brown case.

In one bathroom, there was a display focusing on veterans and suicide rates. The other bathroom held positive and negative images of women’s bodies.

The bedrooms focused on the cost of textbooks and rentals, male oppression and LGBTQ information, religion and being religiously inclusive and disabilities ranging from autism to mental illness and diabetes.

“I learned the history of political cartoons and how they started. I learned about Pink Tax and how much more women pay for things than men. I learned more about the naturalization test and the requirements to become a citizen. There was so much to take in and read that it would take a year to get through it all,” Kirk said.

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