Volunteers met last week, Feb. 23, to begin planning for UNCG’s second Tunnel of Oppression exhibit, to be held Wednesday, March 30, in the Elliott University Center.
The exhibit is being facilitated by the university’s Diversity Peer Engagement Committee.
“The Tunnel of Oppression is an opportunity for people to see different examples of oppression,” said Shara Cotton, a student facilitator for the Office of Intercultural Engagement. “It’s designed to make people uncomfortable.”
According to Cotton, an estimated 300 to 400 students attended last year’s Tunnel of Oppression.
The Tunnel of Oppression is a series of “rooms” dealing with topics such as sexual assault, rape culture, race, religion, mental health and gender and the way in which these issues negatively affect people’s lives.
“I hope it helps visitors better articulate how they benefit from privilege and that they’re challenged by the different perspectives,” Cotton said.
The messages of the exhibit will be conveyed by static exhibits and live skits, she said.
Volunteers’ duties include acting, table and registration management, logistics, scene management and guiding tours. Actors will receive their scripts on March 2, said Cotton, to begin preparing for their roles.
The material being performed could be troubling to some people, according to Cotton.
“Some of it may result in triggering, “ said Cotton, referring to when an experience triggers a negative emotional response based on previous experiences. “We’ll have counselors on site if needed, and a debriefing for visitors will be offered after they leave the exhibit.”
Numerous factors motivated people to volunteer for the exhibit.
“We’re trying to get more involved in the offices on campus,” said EJ Coleman, who was representing his fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha. “I hope people get a meaningful perspective out of [the exhibit] and [will] be touched. We have people from all different backgrounds on campus.”
“We’re very big on volunteering,” said Gabriella Muinde-Pines with the Delta Sigma Thi sorority. “I hope visitors become more aware of what’s going on in this world.”
There will be another Tunnel of Oppression volunteer info session for interested, new and current volunteers to learn more about the event and the volunteer process Wednesday, from 1:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Elliot University Center room 062.